Children with special needs in Schuylkill County get adapted bikes

For kids with special needs, getting the right bike or stroller can cost thousands of dollars. A non-profit organization of Pittsburgh provides the right facilities to NEPA.

March LIN, Pennsylvania – Hailee Siller lived his first moments on his new bike on Thursday.

“It was amazing because my old bike was really small, and my mom told me that I in it seemed kind of smushed, so we needed to get a new one,” she said.

Hailee’s mother, Rita Nelson, said that for the 13 year old Delano, an ordinary bicycle was not an option.

“She was born a preemie early with a brain hemorrhage, she has cerebral palsy spastic diplegia. And if his legs are tight, the balance is off, “said Rita. Nelson.

But these adaptive bikes are not cheap.

“Not having to shell out $ 3000 for a bike, do not leave it behind, it’s incredible,” said Rita.

“It’s not something the typical family can afford out of pocket,” added Bethany Storms, another mother.

That’s why Variety – The Children’s Foundation, a Pittsburgh nonprofit, visited Schuylkill Middle Unit 29 on Thursday to deliver a follow-up.

CEO Charles LaVallee says these bikes and strollers are suitable only some of the more than 185 items donated to children of Schuylkill County over the past four years. In addition to bicycles and strollers, the association also donated communication equipment.

According to the nonprofit, more than $8 million worth of adaptive equipment has been presented to eligible children in the 71 counties it serves in Pennsylvania and northern West Virginia over the past decade. .

“Every kid deserves to have this gear so they can live life and participate who gets left out so they can be a part of the ride with their siblings,” LaVallee said.

The nearly 100-year-old nonprofit organization is funded in part by a state grant and depends on donations.

Variety Partners with Blackburn Medical Equipment – Staff members attend these events to help families with their new equipment. LaVallee says the supply company is also donating to the cause.

“The fact that they’re giving this opportunity to a lot of people is awesome,” Storms said.

Children of all Schuylkill County met Thursday at the school, which hosted the event.

“Variety approached the state and said, ‘Hey, we’ve got this awesome thing. We’d love to have a relationship with you guys,'” said Debra Arnold, director of special education for Schuylkill Intermediate Unit 29.

“It’s been great for me as a therapist to see the progress they’ve made with just one piece of equipment,” said Emilee Barkus, physical therapy assistant for Schuylkill Intermediate Unit 29.

Adaptive bikes allow parents to help children steer while they get used to riding them. And when it’s cold outside, the bikes can become stationary for kids to ride indoors.

“I can ride it with the fixed mount in my house and relax there, like, I could just sit and ride my bike while I watch TV or do whatever,” Hailee said. .

The nonprofit organization covers 59 counties in Pennsylvania. To see if you qualify and apply, please contact Variety here.

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