The first in BMXA’s four-part series looking at the incredible impact the BMX community has had on four families at Nerang BMX Club.
COVER PIC: MadB Photography
When now nine-year-old Jensen Bentley and his family joined the Nerang BMX Club in October 2018, they weren’t sure how their experience would pan out. Six months on, the benefits of immersing themselves in the BMX community have been immeasurable.
For Jensen, BMX is his little getaway from life. When he touches the track, thoughts, feelings and emotions disappear and the thrill of BMX takes over. The need for this salvation is understandable.
Three years ago, Jensen’s younger sister was born with Aicardi Syndrome, a rare genetic malformation characterised by the partial or complete absence of a key structure in the brain. The symptoms include retinal abnormalities and seizures in the form of infantile spasms.
Jensen’s sister has 5-6 seizures a day. At just three and a half, she has a developed mental age of eight weeks, with a lower than average life expectancy.
Justifiably, Jensen’s parents, Rebecca and Nicholas, have struggled with stress and anxiety. Travelling had become incredibly difficult and there was a significant amount of parent’s guilt. After speaking with a psychologist, they realised that their son could be suffering from the stress of the environment as well.
“There were times when my daughter would be being taken to hospital and Jensen could see the ambulance,” Rebecca said.
“He was under a large amount of stress, frustration and rage. He would ask us if she, and sometimes us, were dying.
“Six months ago, our friend suggested Jensen should give BMX a try. So, we signed up to Nerang. It was a time out from his life. He doesn’t have to think about his sister, and he has become more focused and less anxious. It has also given him interaction with other kids, something he doesn’t get with his sister.
“Jensen has never been goal driven. But he went to a training session with the Sakakibara’s and it has only occurred to him there could be a future of Olympics… a dream. Life is improving for him. Teachers tell us he is improving and behaving. He is acting like a normal nine-year-old.”
Rebecca said she and Nicholas had now become involved at Nerang and the love and support for them all has been incredible.
“My husband has also taken it up and that has meant we all have gotten involved with the club,” she said.
“It’s an amazing environment and the club are no strangers to special needs children.
“Jensen tells me that he doesn’t have to worry about anything when he is riding his bike and as parents, that means everything. For us as parents, you just want your kids to be happy and the Nerang BMX Club has been a major factor in it. From top to bottom, they are all supportive. It’s just amazing.”
Recently, when Jensen raced at the BMXQ Shootout round in Ipswich, his little sister was there on the sideline.
It was a special moment, not just for the Bentley family, but for everyone who has contributed to their time in the sport, a time Rebecca summed up beautifully.
“Jensen loves his life. He loves his weekend and he loves his BMX.”
Check back tomorrow for part two.
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