It was all smiles at Saint Francis University Tuesday morning.  Families began to make new memories that they said would last a lifetime.

“This has been really great because this will give our family some independence to be able to travel, get out to see things, and help him to see things,” says Shelley Lill.

Lill’s son is five-year-old Thomas, who is deaf blind.  Lill is one of the three moms who helped to start the Mainline Area Special Needs Advocacy Group.  They help other parents find resources for their kids who have special needs and Tuesday the moms were able to help 20 kids from our region receive adaptive bikes, strollers, or communication devices from the group Variety.

“It’s wonderful that we were able to bring this to rural Pennsylvania and to our county, so that families that may not be able to get out and about are able to come to a centralized location.”

Each child had their own support team present.  For Thomas his new stroller will make it easier for him and his family to travel in the sunlight.  They also won’t have to carry him all of the time.

“It’s going to be life changing for the children as well as for the families themselves,” Lill says.

“I think what we sometimes forget about is the siblings and how they miss out on experiences because of the sibling who has a disability, so now you get brothers and sisters riding together,” Charlie LaVallee, who is the chief executive officer for Variety, adds.

Parents said this opportunity will finally allow their kids to just be kids.