PETALING JAYA, July 10 ― Ahmad Uzair Ahmad Syauqi or fondly known as Uzair was diagnosed with autism and Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder when he was three.
And it was only last year that his parents discovered his gift ― cycling.
It happened when they realised that he just couldn’t stop cycling during a leisure bicycle ride around the neighbourhood.
This led to his parents bringing him for a 30 kilometre cycling fun ride and eventually long-distance cycling trips where he would cycle with his father, and a group of cycling enthusiasts.
According to his mother Munirah Hanim Ahmad Jahudi, 38, Uzair, 12 started his first long-distance cycling from Lumut to Kuala Kangsar accompanied by his father and a group of friends who were also willing to keep an eye on him.
“My husband also realised that our son was able to do long distances on the bicycle which was why he (husband) had to boost his endurance levels so that he could be on par with Uzair’s energy levels,” she said.
Munirah also expressed how blessed she is to have met good cyclists who were willing to accompany her husband, her son and also keep a watchful eye on Uzair.
“Usually on weekends, my son, husband and the group of cyclists will cycle from Sepang to Port Dickson and back to Sepang. But Uzair and my husband have also cycled from Simpang Pulai to Cameron Highlands.
“And our cyclist friends have also commented saying that Uzair is always in his element when he is cycling and at times, and they would have to catch up with the young boy as he gets excited on his cycling journeys.”
Munirah also said that through cycling, Uzair has also learned the art of being disciplined.
“Usually after a certain distance is covered, we tell Uzair that it is enough for the day and that if he wishes to continue cycling, he must wait till the next day.
“This is crucial especially when one has an autistic child as it trains them to be disciplined and to follow a schedule.
“Apart from that, his sleeping pattern has improved and he is able to concentrate better during therapy sessions.”
Because of Uzair’s newly-found passion in cycling, his family also decided to reach out to social enterprise Autism Cafe Project (ACP) to help them raise funds for their kitchen upgrading works for their staff.
ACP is also known to train youths with autism and special needs to learn the art of cooking to help them earn an income through catering services.
But the youths couldn’t put their culinary skills to the test during the Covid-19 movement control order as catering was not allowed and this led to the social enterprise turning to food delivery orders.
Its founder Mohd Adli Yahya, 56, said that because there is no proper kitchen, the staff had to cook the meals from their own homes to deliver it to customers.
“This was troublesome, and it’s been a while since we wanted our own centralised kitchen where our staff can work in a conducive environment and we can also get culinary experts to train them.
“But luckily, Munirah who has been following ACP’s Facebook page got in touch with me saying that she was keen to get Uzair to help raise funds for our kitchen ― and we were delighted.
“She proposed the idea Cycle Uzair Cycle Donation Pledge which is a 750-kilometre cycling distance that would be covered by Uzair by the end of the month.
“Uzair has already covered a distance of 300 kilometres and anyone who is willing to support Uzair’s cycling efforts can do so by stating how much they would like to donate on the Google Form.
“Most of the funds collected would be used for the renovation of the kitchen, while the rest would be used to purchase groceries for B40 families in Johor.
“Once Uzair finishes his 750-kilometre mark at the end of this month, a message will be sent to all the keen donors asking their particulars and to which account the money should be channeled into as well,” said Mohd Adli.
Anyone who is keen to donate to the Cycle Uzair Cycle Donation Pledge can do so by heading here.
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