JOY, JOY, & MORE JOY – something to smile about

Miles of SMILES!

This holiday season, Variety had the chance to present more than 80 pieces of adaptive equipment during 5 presentations to kids with disabilities, and it was pure JOY, JOY, JOY!

In partnership with the Central Intermediate Unit #10, Forbes Hospital, PlayWorks, Range Resources, and Saint Vincent Hospital, we presented 35 adaptive bikes, 15 adaptive strollers, and 32 communication devices (worth $123,900).

Here’s a few highlights to smile along with us!

Zane is pictured above “all smiles” with his family on his new bike and showing off his new device.

Zane received his new adaptive bike AND communication device during a presentation with PlayWorks in Morgantown, WV. His mom, Autumn described the bike’s impact simply by saying, “Zane loves being outdoors. He struggles with a regular bike, so he usually chases his sister rather than getting to ride with her.” Now, Zane will get to just be a kid and ride bikes alongside his sister.

Brylee immediately began checking out her new device (her new voice).

For Brylee and her parents, a communication device will have a significant impact to daily life. Her mom, Candace told us,

Though our daughter can be verbal, she really isn’t. When you ask Brylee ‘how was your day,’ or ‘what did you do in school today,’ or ‘what do you want for dinner,’ her response is usually silence. On occasion she will give you just a repetitive response she has heard a million times and what she thinks to be the appropriate response, but it’s mostly a one-sided conversation…which has been one of the most heartbreaking things.

Another big hurdle for us is not knowing what could be wrong with our daughter when she is sick, or when something is hurting her. When you have a child that just starts crying her eyes out for no reason, but cannot communicate to you that her belly hurts, or that she stepped on something and now her foot hurts because she has no way to communicate to you is very freighting.

Being able to know what is wrong with her when she is sick and being able to have more conversations with her that are no longer one sided is huge!

Noah is pictured above feeling comfy in his new stroller.

After Noah got his new adaptive stroller at Range Resources, he and his mom were planning to take a stroll around the Mall at Robinson – something they struggled to do previously. His mom, Christine told us, “We can’t wait for Noah to get his stroller.  It will make going to and from school so much easier.  We will be able to go to the mall, out for walks, and to the amusement park without worrying about Noah running away.  We will not have to strain so much carrying him as well.”

During our five recent presentations, we were grateful to have local media coverage, which will hopefully enable more kids to be identified and receive this life-changing equipment. Click on the links below to share in Variety’s “Tour de Joy”.

  • Presentation with Range Resources (Allegheny County):
    • Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
    • WTAE-TV

Happy Holidays to you and your family!

“My Bike” Is Opening Doors

Destiny is pictured above taking her new bike for its first ride!

“This bike is going to be wonderful because she stands on the porch and jumps up and down, watching all the kids go up and down the sidewalks on their bikes, and she wants to go, but there’s no bike out there for her to be able to do that.

You just don’t know how much this is going to improve her ability to do things, her ability to be around other children and play with them, and just to have fun like a child her age should and not be confined.”

-said Patricia, Destiny’s Aunt

“This Bike Represents Freedom”

Last year, Evan received an adaptive bike through Variety’s “My Bike” Program.

Amy, mother of Evan helped us truly understand what “freedom” meant for her son (and so many other children just like him) by saying…

Evan rides his bike for the first time, as his dad guides him from behind.

“I think above all else, this bike represents freedom for Evan.

Freedom on many levels. Freedom to be just like any other ten year old boy on a bike. But also freedom to be in control of himself – which does not happen very often for Evan. Freedom from being completely dependent on others. Freedom to go where he wants (within reason of course) as fast or as slow as he wants.

Most of Evan’s life, he is dependent on others for every element of his life – not when he is on the bike though! When he is on the bike, he is free from therapists, adults, parents, and teachers telling him what he can and cannot do.

Long term, I hope this bike helps Evan realize that he is his own person and has the ability to make his own decisions and way in life.”

We are thankful to everyone who continues to help us, help kids like Evan find freedom in their lives. We could not do it without your support, time, and outreach.