Big Smiles for Gia
Gia’s smile was a sight to see, as she tested out her new adaptive bike! It was her second after outgrowing her first bike, and Gia’s mom, Daria explained how important it is for her daughter, by saying,
“Gia was gifted her first bike in Kindergarten and she was thrilled. Her adaptive tricycle allowed her to not only exercise, but also actively participate with her sister.
At first she needed quite a bit of help steering and paying better attention, but she is gradually improving. Our hope is that she can learn to fully steer on her own and of course safely exercise as well.
We also believe when she is able to ride the bike completely on her own she will gain a tremendous amount of confidence that will hopefully spill over into other aspects of her life.”
At the presentation, Gia’s dad, Doug told us, “This bike is another form of exercise for her! We have a treadmill at home, but the bike is much more enjoyable for Gia (and fun). She outgrew her other adaptive bike right when she was getting the hang of steering it, so when we found out we could get a second one, we instantly applied!”
Family Experiences Are Now Possible
An adaptive stroller has an immediate impact for every family, and it’s amazing to hear how it opens up new worlds for kids and their families – like Matteo.
Last March, 8-year-old Matteo received his new adaptive stroller (after already receiving his new bike).
Well, his mom Marie joyfully shared an experience that the stroller made possible,
“Thanks to Matteo’s special stroller, we were able to take a trip to Niagara Falls!! We walked around Goat Island with no issues, and I can’t thank you enough for making this possible.”
Prior to receiving an adaptive stroller, Matteo and his family were greatly limited in what they could do, together. Matteo’s Occupational Therapist, Theresa explained,
“Matteo has a history of running from his parents while shopping and in parking lots, putting him at risk of injury. Because of this, his family avoids any recreational activities in more crowded places that they would otherwise like to enjoy together.
An adaptive stroller will significantly improve the family’s participation within their community by improving safety and mobility on family outing.”
You can’t fully see Matteo’s joy above, as he gazes towards Niagara Falls, but you can definitely see him smile in this short video – riding his adaptive bike alongside his family!
Jaylen & Matthew Got Back Independence
With their own adaptive bikes, Jaylen and Matthew got back some independence!
Jaylen is all smiles above on her new PINK adaptive bike, and her mom, Christina put into words what it means,
“For my daughter to receive an adaptive bike means she gets some of her independence back. Jaylen is almost 12 years old now, but when she was 4, she was in a terrible car accident in which she suffered brain damage.
Jaylen never got the chance to learn how to ride a bike before her injury, and because of her injury, she is not able to operate a regular bike. So, an adaptive bike will be amazing for her!
We all have bikes in our home – me, her mother, her stepdad, and two brothers, so we can’t wait to all be able to ride bikes together as a family!”
Matthew is ready-to-ride his new RED adaptive bike above, but his mom, Shirley explained why it’s so important,
“Matthew has been working so hard since his surgery in 2019 to be able to do all the activities he was able to do before the surgery.
Before, he loved riding his bike on all the trails in our area, and he has been unable to do so since 2019. This special bike will hopefully give him the confidence and stability to enjoy bike riding again with us and his friends!”
As always, thank you all so much for being a part of the Variety community, where it’s truly ALL ABOUT THE KIDS!
“It’s a joy to watch kids being kids!”
End this year with a smile by reading what an adaptive bike has meant for Reese, who was smiling from ear-to-ear when she received her second bike!
Reese’s mom, Jamie put into words what an adaptive bike has meant,
“We struggle with weight and the pandemic has been a challenge for us, as we haven’t had our regular routines of going out and doing regular organized activities.
Bike riding though, is one form of exercise she is willing to do and enjoys. We currently go for walks but for any kind of distance she requires the wheelchair which kind of defeats the purpose of getting activity in.
With the bike, we have the opportunity to get her some additional activity in the evenings, so we can both work together on our health goals… and also have fun while doing it!
Several of Reese’s friends from school have adaptive bikes as well, and a group of 3 or 4 plan outings (with their parents) to ride bikes on trails as a group!
Trust me, the social impact of having an adaptive bike provides an incredibly powerful inducement to get the kids outside, and to also push hard, as they race each other and have the fun that typical kids experience on their bikes.
It’s a joy to watch and experience kids being kids, especially when they don’t always have that opportunity due to their physical circumstances.”
As always, thank you all so much for being a part of the Variety community, where it’s truly ALL ABOUT THE KIDS!
Wishing you a very Happy New Year,
“Your help is beyond measure & words…”
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!”
Celebrating 10 Years of My Bike!
Today, we are celebrating TEN YEARS of Variety’s My Bike® Program, which officially kicked off on Monday, November 5, 2012 to simply provide adaptive bikes to kids with disabilities.
Through My Bike, kids who were being left out / excluded from this childhood milestone now get to experience the joy and freedom of riding a bike alongside siblings and friends.
Take a minute to experience the impact of an adaptive bike by watching Variety’s kids riding their bikes in the 2022 Labor Day Parade in Pittsburgh!
Since kicking off, we’ve presented more than 2,700 adaptive bikes (worth more than $4.8 million in equipment), which is a true testament to what can be achieved when we come together for the kids!
In celebration of this momentous anniversary, we have set a goal to sponsor another 100 adaptive bikes for 100 more kids.
If you have the means, I would grateful for your consideration to donate to My Bike today by giving online now or by mail with attached form.
It’s $1,800 to sponsor one bike for a child, but any amount makes a difference with nearly 150 applications are currently in-process for kids that need their own adaptive bike.
Open Up for Some Good News!
Variety’s 2022 SPRING LIFE-CHANGING TOUR continues with nearly 40 more adaptive bikes and adaptive strollers being presented with Central Susquehanna Intermediate Unit 16, AFSCME Council 13, Westmoreland Intermediate Unit 7, Clairview School, and Blackburn’s!
Don’t miss reading why this mobility equipment will truly change the lives of the kids and their families!
It was a big day for twin brothers, Judah and Silas (from Northumberland County), who received their new adaptive bikes, and their mom, Nicole told us why the bikes will make a big difference:
“For Judah, the combination of low coordination and anxiety make it difficult for him to join in on what most consider normal activities.
An adaptive bike will allow him to develop the coordination necessary to not only ride a bike, but to be able to participate in other activities and remove the anxiety and fear holding him back!”
Silas has fought every day to overcome challenges and difficulties from birth, and he still struggles with balance, coordination, and vision. He desperately wants to play with and partake in the same activities as his family, friends, and peers at school, but often struggles and becomes frustrated.
An adaptive bike will not only help improve his balance and coordination, but also his confidence – leading him to gain more independence and freedom!
Two bikes for two brothers – that’s something to make us all smile!
Delilah-Rose from Dauphin County is pictured above on her beautiful new pink adaptive bike, and her mom, Delaina shared:
“An adaptive bike will really help with my daughter’s coordination issues.
Also, she will be able to ride bikes with her cousins who are the same age without them asking me why can’t she play like them.
This bike will build her confidence in being to do something new and keep her self-esteem high because she can now do the same activities as the other children her age!”
Luke from Westmoreland County was beaming with joy on his new adaptive bike, and that night, Luke’s mom shared this beautiful message:
“Luke is beyond elated for his bike and has been talking about it for a couple weeks since we found out we were approved.
He got it today and the whole way home all I heard was, ‘Mommy where’s my blue bike,” and “Mommy I ride my blue bike.’
A huge thank you to the people who donate to Variety to make kids like Luke’s dreams come true, and turning our Luke’s dream of riding with his siblings and keeping up with them a reality.
He is always such a happy determined kiddo and this bike gives him the chance to keep fighting.”
Check out more from our presentation in Westmoreland County by reading this terrific news story by the Tribune Review (Greensburg)!
It’s Only The Beginning
Receiving an adaptive bike is only the beginning of the impact for our kids.
Please take a minute to read about Johnny Heubel, an 18-year old who has greatly inspired us all.
Johnny received his new adaptive bike last month at Northwest Tri-County Intermediate Unit, and his mother, Megan shared why this bike is so important,
“The programs that are created, in this example, My Bike, are the best things our family has had a chance to be a part of. Since Johnathan’s accident, I say this word (CHANCE) because the bike is our first-move outside of a wheelchair to liberate him with a step of independence.
We hope as a family, along with Jonathan’s first-hand team that this adaptive bike will allow Jonathan to become more mobile – for more strength to evolve within his legs. We hope riding a bike will help improve his cognitive abilities, too. The concept of, ‘like riding a bike’ helps us to take-on change in his rehabilitation with OPTIMISM!”
After Johnny received his new bike, his family presented us with this special note,
Johnny reminds us that receiving this adaptive equipment is only the beginning. Whether it’s an adaptive bike, adaptive stroller, or communication device, we are giving kids the opportunity to discover their own possibilities.
However, our need for support right now has never been more critical to fund more adaptive bikes (at $1,800 per bike) and adaptive strollers (at $1,500 per stroller).
All donations go directly to our kids and any amount will make a difference.
Supporting My Bike or My Stroller is even easier with recent updates, but we also have a form to donate by mail.
Thank you so much for being a part of the Variety Family, where it is ALL ABOUT THE KIDS!
P.S. You can read more about Johnny’s inspiring journey at https://www.facebook.com/HEUBELSTRONG23
It Opens A New World for Ava and Aubree
And for these two sisters, it is only the beginning…
Twin sisters, Ava and Aubree each received their own adaptive bikes AND adaptive strollers from Variety (pictured above on their new bikes), but receiving the equipment was only the beginning for them and their family.
Their mom, Kelsey shared how much they loved their new bikes, by saying,
“We brought their bikes inside last night and set them up on the stationary stands. Ava and Aubree were riding them until bedtime, and then went straight to them as soon as they woke up!”
Kelsey really got to the heart of how life-changing the strollers are when she shared, “These strollers make it possible to take the girls places. We want them to be as safe as possible, but also be able to go to events/outings just like typical kids can.
We’ve been able to go to the zoo twice this year, and we even bought a membership, which we would have never done if not for these strollers. So… there are no words to thank you all enough.”
Over the last year, Variety’s impact has been truly remarkable and historic for our small organization, and that impact isn’t slowing down.
For many months now, we have been receiving more than 30 applications per week, and by the end of June, we are scheduled to present another 85-100 pieces of adaptive equipment!
However, right now, we desperately need to raise funds for our My Bike® and My Stroller® Programs. We are writing to ask you to join us in a Mobility Campaign to make sure no child has to wait on their adaptive bike or stroller.
If you are able to help, we would greatly appreciate it. These kids wait on so many things, so it is my hope that we will not need a waiting list at all.
You can give a donation online for My Bike or My Stroller, or use the attached donation form to give by mail.
Truly, any amount will make a difference because if we all give some, there is no stopping how many more kids we can impact, TOGETHER!
Alessia Marks #1,000 During Pandemic!
I hope you’re sitting down because we have some very positive news that might just knock your socks off!
Last month, we presented three-year-old Alessia with her new adaptive bike.
Not only was it a beautiful pink bike, but it was the 1,000th piece of mobility or communication equipment that we’ve presented to kids during the pandemic!
In total, we have presented 1,062 pieces of life-changing equipment during the pandemic (worth more than $1.5 million), and that number goes up almost daily!
Our families tell us constantly how critical this equipment is for their children, and even more so during the pandemic.
Just few days after receiving her new bike, Alessia’s mom sent the below photo, and shared, “Alessia loves her bike, and she has been riding her bike in the house on the stationary stand provided by Variety! She has her baby in the back and her MP3 player and headphones clipped on, and she rides for hours!”
1,062 is our new favorite number. It makes us smile for the kids and their families, and it makes us think of YOU and what we have accomplished together.
We sincerely appreciate each of you for helping to make such incredible impact possible because IT’S ALL FOR THE KIDS!
P.S. You can see a few more photos of Alessia from the day she received her new bike in this Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article!