March 16, 2018
Clint Strommen, 6, spends his days playing Madden NFL on his iPod, watching Star Wars and calling in the cows on his family’s ranch south of Mandan near Fort Rice.
“He’s just like any other kid,” Clint’s mom, Sheyna, said. “He’s just in an electric wheelchair.”
Clint was born with muscular dystrophy, a complete surprise to Sheyna and her husband, Aaron, after a seemingly normal pregnancy.
“I don’t know anyone more physically limited than my son,” Sheyna said. “But he has the smarts to be able to do whatever he wants. We’ve made a point not to put limitations on Clint and what he can do. You have to have a positive attitude and go forward.”
Even swallowing can be a challenge for Clint. He has never lifted his hand above his head nor walked on his own. But that doesn’t stop him from grabbing a toy he wants, reading a book or beating his 12-year-old brother at video games.
The day Clint drove a wheelchair for the first time – at just 18 months old – Sheyna had a feeling tantamount to watching her two other children take their first steps.
“I didn’t know if I would ever feel that joy with Clint,” Sheyna said. “Then he drove his wheelchair, and it was as joyous and meaningful.”
Clint’s gold and green wheelchair – colors that show his allegiance to the North Dakota State University Bison – serves as his legs, allowing him to explore his world like any other kid.
This fall, Clint started kindergarten and rides the bus to school every day. He excels in music, playing DJ with his phone, but his favorite class is gym. He plays an adapted game of soccer using a baseball bat to hit the ball, and when he grows up, he’d like to be a football star like Carson Wentz.
The Sanford Health Foundation Great American Bike Race has helped make Clint’s success possible. Funds from the annual event have helped the Strommen family purchase a specialized stroller and covered part of the cost of his nearly $20,000 wheelchair.
Seeing the community come together to support kids like Clint amazes Sheyna.
“When you walk in to GABR and everyone is there for the same cause, it’s pretty overwhelming,” Sheyna said. “Sometimes you feel alone when you have a child with special needs, but gathering all those people together who really care, really shows us we’re not alone.”
By supporting GABR, you help local kids, like Clint, continue to live fully and dream big. Space is limited for this year’s race as teams are filling quickly. If you’d like to start or join a team today visit gabr.sanfordhealth.org/bismarck.