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!
Some good news to bring a smile to your faces.
We partnered with the incredible teams at Covestro and Blackburn’s this past Tuesday to distribute 25 adaptive bikes and adaptive strollers to kids with disabilities!
I hope you’ll take a moment to share in the joy of the day by watching this 40-second piece by KDKA-TV – https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2020/10/28/adaptive-bicycle-charity-donation/.
CARTER’S NEW ADAPTIVE BIKE!
When 8-year old Carter was fit for an adaptive bike in September and trialed one, his mom Lisa shared, “After we got him at 5 months of age, we finally got a diagnosis of his condition and we were told that he would not walk or talk… Well, here he is today riding a bike!!! I’ve never seen him peddle before. This is awesome that he can do it, and now he will be able to go on bike rides with the family.”
Now, Carter is ready for ALL the family bike rides, memories, and fun!
LEVI’S NEW ADAPTIVE STROLLER!
“Where there’s a will, there’s a way,” and for Levi’s family, they found a way to make it to Tuesday’s presentation from Wheeling, WV to receive Levi’s new adaptive stroller!
The stroller will help to keep Levi safe because he is an “escape artist”, as his dad, Harry mentioned at the presentation. When the family goes out into the community, they won’t have to worry about keeping Levi safe.
To describe it further, Levi’s mom, Kathy explained, “I’m unable to walk with Levi because of my health issues, but beyond that, no one else can either. He slips out of your hand in a blink of an eye and runs, FAST. He has already gotten out from our house.”
HANNAH’S NEW ADAPTIVE BIKE!
For 5-year old Hannah, an adaptive bike will let her experience something fun with her siblings! Her mom, Lisa put into words what this bike would mean, “Hannah has 3 siblings, and she loves to go outside with them. They ride bike and scooters with the other kids in the neighborhood, and Hannah would have so much fun if she could follow along and do the same!
She ends up frustrated when the bike won’t move for her, and when we try to push it, her feet get caught under the pedals, so an adaptive bike would be amazing for her!”
Stay tuned for more good news to come soon!
Dear Variety Friends:
As I take time to reflect, I am truly grateful for believing in our work to change the lives of kids with disabilities. With thanks, I want to send you a series of emails (starting with part 1 today) about the impact we’re having during the pandemic because I thought you would especially appreciate it.
In the midst of this pandemic, I have been inspired and had my life changed by a 17-year old named Corey, who is unstoppable!
This is one of the most incredible stories I have ever shared with you and amazing on many levels. I am sorry it is long… but I guarantee that you will be so grateful that you took in the whole story.
Corey receives therapy services and educational programming at Leg Up Farm in York County, Pa.
He had never ridden an adaptive bike until he rode one at Leg Up Farm.
Ever since, he wanted to have one at home, and he was scheduled to receive an adaptive bike and communication device at Leg Up Farm on April 3rd. Every day, he would ask his Speech Language Pathologist, Lu, “Is my bike there? Is my bike there?”
Corey’s mom, Michelle said that she and her husband (retired army) both love riding bikes, and were excited about the possibility of being able to ride with Corey as a family.
This opportunity to ride together has even more importance because Michelle is battling cancer and currently receiving chemotherapy. She wanted Corey to get the bike while she was healthy enough to ride with him.
April 3, 2020:
The presentation at Leg Up Farm was cancelled because of the pandemic.
Michelle was disappointed about having to wait for the bike, but also that Corey would not receive his communication device because, “Corey is partially verbal – he tries to say everything he reads and tries to communicate, but it is hard to understand him, which is where the device really helps him.”
April 9, 2020:
Michelle approached Lu, who called us, and with Corey’s Occupational Therapist, Nicole, and the leadership of Leg Up Farm, we created a way for Corey and other kids to receive communication devices and adaptive bikes in the middle of the pandemic!
May 9, 2020:
The Saturday before Mother’s Day, Corey received his new communication device thanks to a Special Delivery by Lu to his home.
May 15, 2020:
Corey received his adaptive bike at Leg Up Farm.
Michelle said, “Thanks to the bike and the device, Corey is making connections with neighbor kids he didn’t have before. This has meant the world to him. He just spent the last two hours playing with kids he has never played with before until now, and they live right around us.”
Tuesday, May 19, 2020:
Corey’s SLP Lu sent us an update, “I am just amazed at how he has blossomed in the last couple days with both the bike and the talker. He so desperately wants to have friends and that bike has given him a way to meet them. Instead of just watching them, now he is joining in. Variety didn’t just give him a bike, it opened up a whole new world for him. Variety has truly made a difference in his life!”
Check this out – here’s a video that Corey filmed himself from a Zoom meeting with Lu and his mom.
And to top it all off!
After only having his device for 10 days and his bike for 5 days, Lu said, “It really was wonderful to see him being so independent with his device. He knew exactly what he wanted to tell you and he wanted to do it completely by himself. Now that he’s seeing just how much he can do by himself, he is gonna be unstoppable!”
Does it honestly get much better than this – that in the midst of a pandemic, in partnership with the therapist and his parents, Corey is becoming empowered to live a dramatically different life.
COREY, THE UNSTOPPABLE… I love it!
Take good care,
Charles P. LaVallee
Chief Executive Officer
Variety – the Children’s Charity
On Monday, January 27th, Variety presented adaptive equipment in Erie, and what a day it was!
6-year old Brayden received a communication device AND a bike, and you have to read what his mom shared…
“Brayden is nonverbal, so he doesn’t speak, so this device is going to really help him. And it’s just, it gets tough because I’m a single mom at home, I have limited income and I have another child who’s high functioning autistic. She speaks and everything, but she’s just having some trouble with emotions and dealing with others.
And so we just take one day at a time, but he’s just – all of these kids with special needs are such blessings, but it’s hard, it’s really hard sometimes. And you just want to make it as normal for them as possible, because they have enough challenges, so you just want to give them love and help them communicate as best they can. So I’m very thankful.”
Earlier that day, Variety held a Press Conference with City of Erie Mayor Joseph Schember, Saint Vincent Hospital CEO Dr. Christopher Clark, representatives from Intermediate Unit 5, Barber National Institute, and others from the Northwestern corner of Pa. to make a big push to identify every eligible child who could benefit from their own communication device.