ALTOONA, Pa (WTAJ)–The children’s charity, Variety, provided six different families Tuesday with brand-new custom adaptive bikes and strollers to help with their everyday lives.
Variety is a charity that holds the mission to empower kids with disabilities and make them live their lives to the fullest. The charity is helping children across 71 counties in Pennsylvania and West Virginia with their adaptive bikes, strollers, and communication devices.
The families gathered for a presentation of their strollers and bikes at the Appalachia Intermediate Unit #8 in Altoona. Variety representatives demonstrated the safety precautions for the strollers and bicycles before the families tested them out themselves.
Board Member of Variety Mickey Sgro said that another part of their mission is to have kids feel like kids. They believe their machines and communication programs help accomplish that mission.
“We provide these children with the equipment to be kids, and that’s the main thing,” Sgro said. “We want these kids to be kids just like any other kid. We don’t call them special needs; we call them special.”
These machines provide easier mobility, allow those to participate in everyday activities and are safe. It also allows them to build muscle strength that other machines do not provide.The Long family discovered the charity through their teacher and decided to apply for the bicycle.
Their son, Zane, has prune belly syndrome, a rare disorder involving the absence of the adnominal wall. The disorder limits Zane from having a good balance or particular muscle strength. His mother, Deb, said that this adaptive bike is the best for combining those abilities. They’ve tried multiple other alternatives and knew that this bike was the best one.
“He has no adnominal wall, so core strength and balance things are challenging for him,” Long said. “That’s why this adaptive bike is huge. He can’t ride a regular bike because he doesn’t have the balance. Something like a big wheel; he doesn’t have the strength for the pedals. So, this is the best combination.”
Long noted that she feels that the charity makes kids with disabilities feel included because it allows interaction just like those who are able. Her and her husband, Michael, called the charity a blessing.
“When we found there was an option like this is huge. Being included is great. Especially kids dealing with differently-abled, who don’t have the same muscles, some limitations and some hurdles to get over.”
“They’re excited. They get to see something their child do something that they never thought they could do,” Sgro said. “Being a parent myself, we always get excited when we see a child do something that we didn’t think they could do.”
If the child grows out of the machine, they’re able to be remeasured and receive a new one at no cost. To learn more about the Variety and eligibility of the machines, visit their website.