JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A St. Johns County second grader got a big surprise Thursday after some disappointing news. Will Barkoskie, 7, has Muscular Dystrophy. He was a contestant in the Great Bike Giveaway hoping to win a specialized trike that he is able to pedal on his own.
His mom broke the news to him that he did not win.
"I have a little bit of bad news. I checked my phone and you didn't get the bike," said Blake Barkoskie.
But Will's heartbreak quickly turned to pure joy.
"Hey Will. You see that bike, the one you use at school? Me and my friends are buying you whatever bike you want in whatever color," said his cousin, Chris Shee.
Shee is a partner with MasterCraft Builder Group and Florida Home Store. He helped rally support to try to get Will enough votes to win the contest.
"When I sent an email out, my business partner, Neil Singleton, came in my office and said I don't care if he wins contest of not, every boy needs a bike. We're buying him a bike," explained Shee. "Andy Chamber, my other partner came in and echoed the exact same thing…This is our neighborhood. This is our community. These kids are our kids, and we should all be that way."
Since Will's story first aired Tuesday night First Coast News has been flooded with calls from viewers wanting to help, many offering to buy Will a new trike.
"We prayed for a miracle and our definition of miracle was can we get 5000 votes. What God has delivered has been so far beyond," said Bill Barkoskie, Will's father. "It's been an amazing blessing, for us, absolutely mind blowing."
Will's mom calls it a snowball of goodness.
"Just seeing Jacksonville. They just came together for this child that they don't know and how can we ever top this, and that's just been an incredible experience and who would have ever thought when Will was diagnosed five years ago that we thought it was going to be heartache and despair, but today we are celebrating. This is just fantastic."
And for Will having a new trike at home means he won't have be pushed around in a wheelchair.
"For him to be able to go to the pool, bike to his grandparents, bike to bus stop now and not tire out walking and to really go, it really will give him that sense of independence we want so much for him right now," said Bill Barkoskie
"From a health standpoint, him exercising and using those muscles it will keep him walking longer so as we buy time hopefully for a cure that will come this way this bike is helping us keep him in the best top shape we can," said Blake Barkoskie.
"Thank you!" said Will.
The good news doesn't end here. Many of those other viewers who offered to buy Will a new trike have generously offered to purchase bikes for the other children with special needs in our area who were also in the Great Bike Giveaway Contest.
If you want to help purchase a specialized bike for a child on the First Coast email First Coast News Anchor Heather Crawford at firstname.lastname@example.org.