Jayla’s smile “says it all”, but her mom, Stephanie explains how their lives were truly changed by Variety’s programs.
Last week, Jayla received her new adaptive stroller, and later that night, her mom, Stephanie shared,
“First, I want to thank you again for all your charity has done for my daughter and our family. It is a huge help for us, especially as a one income family just making ends meet. The help you have given us is beyond measure and words.
Both the communication device and adaptive stroller you provided for my daughter are items we would not be able to afford for her and they are incredibly vital to her growth, development and comfort.
Because she has a rare genetic syndrome that many haven’t heard of and research is lacking in, we have a lot of difficulties navigating care tailored for her.
Jayla’s condition causes her to fall a lot, and her body weakens after just a little bit of activity, even a walk. We haven’t been able to go places that require walking because she needs to be carried and that is no easy feat.
This stroller opens up so many things for her – trips to the mall, walks through Target, family walks in the park, and even walks through our neighborhood, which we had to stop when her disability got worse.
Additionally, the communication device was not only a savior for us when she received it in 2020, but the whole process was fast, especially during a pandemic!
Your programs work, they’re needed, and are so appreciated. Jayla’s smile and happiness says it all, but the teddy bear was also a huge hit!”
As the first snow of 2022 fell on Monday, Dec. 12, Variety’s kids were warm and joyful inside Covestro’s facility as they received bikes their new bikes and strollers through Variety’s My Bike® and My Stroller® programs. Whether it be their first or second time, the kids were ecstatic to try out their shiny, new adaptive equipment.
Gia received her second bike at the presentation, and her parents expressed how far she had come in the time she had her old one.
Daria said, “She can steer on her own in therapy. I think there was a lot going on for her and she was overwhelmed today, so it was harder for her to focus on steering.”
Gia was right behind Mike Schneck, Variety Board Chairman, in the bike parade, and gained on him quickly, though she didn’t have recent practice outside of therapy because she had grown out of her old one.
Daria said, “We’re getting this second one because she outgrew her first one. There’s a bigger one at PT (physical therapy), but she hasn’t ridden at home since she outgrew her old one.”
Gia’s father, Doug , explained that he’s glad to get Gia another bike for at-home riding because he hopes it will make exercise more appealing.
“It’s another form of exercise. It’s hard to get her to exercise, so this will be great,” Doug said, “We have a treadmill at home, but the bike is more enjoyable for her.”
Doug also expressed how happy he was to have another one at home for Gia to ride.
Doug said, “she outgrew her other one right when she was getting the hang of steering it, so when we found out that we could get another one, we applied immediately.”
Variety gives kids the ability to have a lifetime of riding as they can apply for a second bike at least three years after they received their first one. As long as families and kids still meet Variety’s requirements, the kids are eligible for two pieces of the same equipment!
For other kids at the program, it was their first piece of adaptive equipment from Variety, and the parents talked about how this new way of getting around will impact their child’s and family’s lives.
Cristobal had never received equipment from Variety before, but on Monday he was receiving both a stroller and a bike. His mom, Maria explained how she expects both pieces of equipment to positively impact Cristobal’s life.
“Cristobal doesn’t like to walk long distances, so I bought him another stroller from the store, but his legs still touched the ground. It was a risk for his legs to hang like that,” Maria explained, “With the bike, I’m hoping that it will help exercise his legs and help him to walk longer distances.”
She hopes that the bike will enable Cristobal to get out into the community for longer periods of time, but she has other expectations for the stroller. She hopes that he My Stroller® program will help to get Cristobal out into the community and do it safely.
Leon also hopes to use it to take Cristobal and the rest of the family to church. She was most appreciative that she could apply for both the Stroller and the Bike at the same time.
Leon explained, “I felt very blessed that we could receive both because I thought we would have to choose.”
Anyone who fits the criteria for equipment can apply for one or all three of the programs that Variety has.
Carleigh also received a stroller from Variety on Monday. While she had an adaptive stroller before, it was not one provided by Variety.
Her mom, Melissia , explained that the stroller will provide opportunities for Carleigh to experience the world safely again. Carleigh is too big for strollers made for typical children, and though the family has tried multiple strollers, they are all too easy for Carleigh to tip.
“She outgrew her stroller and was tipping them,” Melissia explained. “Without this program, I wouldn’t be able to do our day to day. It was either stay at home or put her at risk.”
Melissa shared the plans they had following the presentation and receiving the new equipment.
Melissa said, “We’re going to pick up her siblings and we’re heading to the grocery store after this!”
Variety aims to help kids be kids, and with Carleigh’s new equipment, she can get out into the community like her brothers and sisters!
Adaptive bikes and strollers are so much more than a piece of equipment, as Heidi and Irene both describe for us below.
Zeyke received his second adaptive bike over the summer, and his grandmother, Heidi explained how critical it has been, especially the last few years. She shared,
“Zeyke first received his bike from Variety in June 2019, and he was very excited about his new-found freedom!
Upon receiving the bike, it changed his world. I could finally take him for walks, and he also got exercise doing it, and he quickly wanted to go for multiple walks every day to ride his bike!
It took almost a full year, but by May of 2020, he took off on his own and pedaling on his own! The smiles on his face and mine were priceless the first time he did it! He has not lost any interest in the bike and continues to go on bike rides every day.
I do not know what I would have done throughout the pandemic without his bike… It truly gave us many ways to get out of the house and stay safe, and Zeyke has probably ridden the bike hundreds of miles in these past three years! Thanks for all you do for our children!”
Teenager Jacqueline is pictured below in her new adaptive stroller – looking especially comfy.
Her mom, Irene explained simply why the stroller would have an immediate impact, by saying, “Over the years, Jacqueline has lost the ability to walk independently, and it’s gotten really hard to go places as a family… something we really enjoy. This stroller will help Jackie be able to go out more and be more comfortable alongside our family.”
A few months ago, 4-year-old Noah received his new adaptive bike AND adaptive stroller, and a year ago, he received a communication device – gaining all three pieces of equipment!
Noah’s smile above really says it all, but his mom, Roxanne shared the transformative difference the bike will make, by saying,
“My son is unable to even sit on a regular tricycle, let alone ride it. He is also unable to steer and petal by himself. We want him to get the idea of how to ride a bike, since he is already four years old and has never been able to properly ride one.
An adaptive bike will mean so much to our family because Noah can finally ride a bike this summer alongside his big sister, and we wouldn’t have to worry about him getting injured.”
Don’t miss Noah’s even bigger smile, as he tested out his new stroller below!
The stroller may not be as flashy as the bike, but it certainly has an immediate and incredible impact, like Roxanne helped us understand,
“Noah has always had low tone, a small limp when he walks (which is part of why he has leg braces), and he gets winded quicker than other children his age. As a family, we love going to places such as our local zoo, walks around the peninsula, and to our local amusement park. Noah absolutely loves going to these places, too, but it definitely presents a challenge for him and his legs when we are there for extended periods of time.
The adaptive stroller will help our family continue to do the things we love, especially during the warmer months in PA, and still allow for Noah to take breaks when needed. Not to mention, the stroller will lighten the burden on him and on myself and my husband from carrying Noah (especially since he has gotten very heavy as a four year old!).”
I am thrilled for Noah because families are regularly telling us, “the earlier their child can receive this life-changing equipment, the greater possibilities for their future.”
Mia’s mom, Anita recently shared at our Gala that her daughter is “a poster child for the importance and impact of early childhood intervention,” because at nearly 4 years old, Mia received a communication device and was completely nonverbal at that time.
Now at the age 7, Mia speaks completely with her own voice – can you even imagine the possibilities for her life now?!
We have “miles of smiles” to share as Variety’s 2022 SPRING LIFE-CHANGING TOUR continued with another 39 adaptive bikes and adaptive strollers presented in partnership with Schuylkill Intermediate Unit 29, Appalachia Intermediate Unit 8, and Blackburn’s!
We saw pure joy, as 9-year-old Saj (above) was strapped into her new adaptive bike, and her mom, Shalease helped us understand why it will make a huge impact:
“The adaptive bike will most importantly allow Saj to enjoy an outdoor activity that most of her peers enjoy. It will also help Saj strengthen her left side where she has limited mobility. Overall, I think this bike will be transformative for her overall health physically, as well as mentally and emotionally.”
5-year old Noah (above) received his new adaptive stroller a few weeks ago, and his mom, Anne shared the life-changing difference it will make for them both:
“In large groups of people, Noah either runs off and hides, or claws me or someone else to hold him, especially if he doesn’t know anyone. It’s difficult to go anywhere with him, and holds us back from a lot of things.
An adaptive stroller that he can fit in will make going anywhere more enjoyable for us all. I will be able to take him more places by myself, and just about anywhere! Can you imagine the possibilities and new adventures he can enjoy at 5 years old?!”
At the presentation, Anne also shared this phenomenal update, “Noah received a communication device in January 2020, but now hardly has to use it! He went from no words to saying most words on his own. He still takes his device with him to school just in case, but he is mostly speaking with his own voice.”
3-year-old Dawson and his family (above) were thrilled to receive his new adaptive bike AND adaptive stroller, but his mom, Jennifer shared why the stroller will make a world of difference:
“Dawson is a very active child, and it is nearly impossible to safely direct him in public or outside. Dawson misses out on so many activities because allowing him to walk freely can be a danger to him. Dawson will run and pull away if he becomes overwhelmed, or if it’s an environment he’s not familiar with.
I’m hoping the adaptive stroller will give him a better quality of life and so much more social interaction. Dawson is getting too big for a standard stroller, so without an adaptive stroller, he can’t participate in so many things a child his age should be able to do.”
Later that day, Dawson’s family was so excited because they were able to use the stroller to go to the store to get him a new pair of sneakers, and it was the first time they were able to take him to the store!
We also received incredible support by the media, who help us create greater awareness and find more kids that can benefit from our programs – don’t miss these stories by WNEP-TV, WTAJ-TV, and the Republican Herald.
Last month, we kicked off Variety’s 2022 Spring Life-Changing Tour for Kids, and we presented more than 30 adaptive bikes and adaptive strollers in partnership with Covestro, Midwestern Intermediate Unit 4, Northwest Tri-County Intermediate Unit 5, and Blackburn’s!
8-year old Emily (above) received her second adaptive bike (after outgrowing the first one), and she was ALL SMILES, as she tried it out.
Her dad, Todd explained why it will be transformative for his daughter, by saying, “Emily has a Rifton adaptive bike from Variety that she has outgrown. She loves riding her bike around the neighborhood with her brother, Sam (who also has a Rifton adaptive bike from Variety).
Emily thrives on being independent like her peers. She also cannot walk independently, so the bike helps her to get needed exercise as well.”
9-year old, Robert and his parents (above) were beaming with joy when he received his own adaptive stroller.
His mom, Amanda shared why this piece of equipment means so much, “The adaptive stroller will help us tremendously. It is getting harder for us to pick Robert up and put him down, or carry him for a long distance. We hope the stroller helps us when going places where he will get tired out fast. The stroller we have is very bulky and takes up all the room in the trunk of the car.
With this adaptive stroller, it will allow us to become closer connected because we can stay together while out shopping, touring, vacationing, etc.”
8-year old, Rowan (above) also received his new adaptive bike last month, and his mom, Mandy shared,
“Our hope for Rowan having this bike is that he will be able to have the same opportunity as everyone else. This bike will give us the opportunity to get out in the community more. We have seen him wanting to ride bikes with his sisters as they are learning to ride their bikes
I believe this bike will serve in many great areas of Rowan’s development physically, mentally, and socially. It will also create independence within him, which we hope will give him the self-confidence to try and ultimately to move for himself.”
We have much more to come from our 2022 Spring Tour, so stay tuned for even more reasons to smile.
We always tell families who are receiving their new equipment that it is only the beginning, and these beautiful updates we recently received will surely give you a reason to smile!!
21-year old, Laila (pictured below) received her adaptive bike AND adaptive stroller from Variety more than two years ago.
Her mom, Crystal shared,“Since Laila has received her adaptive stroller, we have been able to travel and experience more of life outside of the house! She is safe in the stroller, and I as her parent can have moments of ease. The wheelchair we used before was soooo heavy and difficult to lift, so the stroller has been such a blessing for me.
We also received an adaptive bike, and Laila can exercise in OR outside of the home. Both have been a gift to Laila and our family. We have experienced events that we would not have done before.”
I especially love this photo of Laila because her adaptive stroller allows her to walk the dog safely around the neighborhood alongside her family.
A year ago, 15-year old Bridget (pictured below) received her new adaptive bike, and we were thrilled when her mom, Kathleen shared with us, “I wanted to share that Bridget’s gym teacher asked if they could use Bridget’s Bike in her gym class, while the weather is still inclement. We were happy to oblige and she is one happy girl!”
Variety’s My Bike®, My Stroller®, and My Voice® Programs are empowering kids and their families with life-changing impact happening around the clock.
We are the helpers that are listening and responding to the needs of kids with disabilities, and our programs are giving them opportunities to live life to the fullest.
This short note from Sierra’s mom and dad is deeply moving, and we hope that it brings some happiness into your day / week!
The same day that Sierra received her new adaptive stroller (pictured above), Sierra’s mom, Elaine sent this message of joy,
“Sierra absolutely LOVES her stroller (and we do, too!!).
When she got in the door, she had her stroller name tag in her hand, and she was so excited to show me — she was pointing to the word ‘stroller’.
She was so excited for dad to bring it inside, and Sierra was absolutely bursting with excitement in anticipation.
Guess what — she wanted to sit in it IMMEDIATELY, and she moved her computer chair swiftly aside because she wanted her stroller in front of her computer desk / touch-screen computer. She even wanted to be seat-belted in–ha! ha!
Sierra is so happy sitting in her stroller right now–and watching a video of the Jack Rabbit roller coaster at Kennywood (one of her favorite places and rides)!
I just had to let you know — her JOY at having this stroller is beyond heart-warming to us. We are SO happy to see HER feeling so happy and content!
What a gift Variety has given our whole family — seeing Sierra smile and giggle because of the joy she has gotten from her adaptive bike, her communication device, AND NOW, her pretty raspberry adaptive stroller – this equipment is just PRICELESS!
Happy tears here from happy parents!”
It’s safe to say that an adaptive stroller has an immediate impact on the kids and their families!
We hope you’ll share these with families, peers, and others in your network/community that may benefit from our mobility and communication programs.
As a special thanks for being part of the Variety community, we wanted to send you another reason to smile because Kinley has new freedom!
Last Fall, Kinley and her parents were over-the-moon to receive her new adaptive bike AND adaptive stroller – and she’s riding her bike for the first time above!
For Kinley and her family, this mobility equipment meant so much, and her mom, Casey explained the transformative difference it would make, by saying, “Our family is very active, and with an adaptive bike, Kinley will be able to ride bikes with her siblings (and family) on a local bike trail that visit frequently!
Kinley is also too big for the side-cart we were using, so our family can’t even go on bike rides right now. Kinley has grown out of her typical stroller as well, but without one, it restricts the activities we can do safely as a family – like going on walks or to the park. The adaptive stroller will keep Kinley safe and comfortable.”
Thank you so much for being a part of the Variety community, where it’s ALL ABOUT THE KIDS!
Imagine if you couldn’t sit up on your own while out in the community… How would you see the world differently?
When Danny received her new adaptive stroller (pictured below with her beautiful service dog), I could tell it was an important day for her AND her family.
Her mom, Marie told us very simply why the adaptive stroller is so important,
“She’s laying down in her current stroller, so this one makes a big difference because with the accessories, it enables her to sit up safely and fit comfortably.
The adaptive stroller will also make transporting her so much easier, since we cannot get her wheelchair into our car.”
As Danny smiled in her new stroller, her grandma, Tracey exclaimed,
“Danny is GLEEFUL because she’s sitting UP in the adaptive stroller!”
Grandma’s level of joy at the presentation was on another level because for the first time, her granddaughter was able to SIT UP and SEE more of the world around her.
All it took was an adaptive stroller to transform Danny’s daily life.