N. SPRINGFIELD, Vt. – Wyatt Chisamore of North Springfield is 13 and an avid mountain bike rider with special needs. After a long and trying process for his parents, Amy and Paul Chisamore, Wyatt has been diagnosed with a rare genetic disorder that has caused nocturnal seizures and abnormal brain activity resulting in his missing all his developmental milestones.
Now a special education student at Greenwood School in Putney, Wyatt’s mother says he has finally “found a focus that is a leap for him,” and she credits mountain biking for his recently making a breakthrough in his ability to focus. She says, “Riding mountain bike gives him focus, purpose, and gives him great joy!”
Two summers ago, he attended a mountain bike camp in Putney, and he is now one of the youngest regular riders with the Community Rides #TNR and the Mountain Bike Association of Mt. Ascutney. He finished in the top 20 of one recent race. Amy says that as well as the local bike riding groups Wyatt frequents area bike shops and “everybody knows Wyatt.” He is also a Boy Scout where he is working toward a mountain bike merit badge to add to other badges he has attained as he aspires to someday be an Eagle Scout. Amy says with all these connections and the educational and medical professionals who are working with him “we really have a supportive team for him.”
Wyatt himself says, “I am not sure what kind of career I want to have, but I see myself continuing to mountain bike through my whole life, maybe teach kids about trail riding and completion. I hope that I will be able to work on a ski mountain that offers trail riding.”
Both educationally and medically it has been a long struggle for his parents to get Wyatt to the point where he is today. His parents had to seek second opinions and advocate frequently along the way. Boston Children’s Hospital finally came up with the diagnosis that Wyatt has DEPDC5 and NPRL3 genetic disorders, one inherited from each parent, and of about five known similar cases Wyatt is the only one that has both in his body DNA instead of separate body and brain locations that have otherwise been found. And Amy says the Greenwood School placement provides “intensive instruction to remediate their [students] deficits…They show them other paths, and you don’t always have to be No. one in academics.”
Mountain biking is, however, a sport that requires quite a bit of expensive equipment, and mountain trails are really hard on bikes requiring frequent maintenance, repairs, replacement parts, and even replacement of the bikes themselves. Giving Wyatt what he needs, even just the basic equipment with no frills, is a difficult task for two hardworking parents.
“We’re an average family,” Amy says. They also have a daughter in her freshman year of college where she aspires to be a special education teacher and two adopted boys, ages 6 and 7, who both also have special education needs.
Wyatt needs a new bike and a lot of upgraded equipment. So, at Wyatt’s suggestion, they have started a GoFundMe page, www.gofundme.com/on-the-mountain-with-wyatt-chisamore, with a goal of $12,000, though Wyatt knows he might not reach the goal.
So far the response has been very good. Over $2,500 has been raised with some donations of equipment itself from Wyatt’s “needs list.” Instagram comments are many and encouraging.
Wyatt says, “I would like to say thank you to all of the people who have shared my story, and donated to my campaign. They are helping me to grow as a student athlete and achieve my biking goals.”