Children’s charity donates adaptive bicycles

On Aug. 12, Variety Children’s Charity partnered with the Altoona Curve, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees?(AFSCME) and Edgar Snyder & Associates to provide six children with disabilities their own adaptive bikes through Variety’s “My Bike” Program.

Kids from Cambria and Somerset counties received their bikes during the presentation. The event was even more special as the kids took their inaugural ride around the bases on the field at PNG Field to the cheers and applause of those in attendance.

Participating in the event were Mickey Sgro, director of AFSCME Council 83 and Variety board member.

“I’m so passionate about this program,” Sgro said. “I got involved because every child deserves the chance to ride a bike. Every child deserves the chance for his or her parents to be proud of them. Too many times these children don’t get that opportunity, but this program gives them the chance to show their parents they can do it!”

During the event, Variety presented an adaptive bike to Victoria, 4, of South Fork. Her mother, Heather, explained why this bike is important by saying, “My little girl whom we thought may never even walk, now rides a bike. Riding on the field tonight she will be in all her glory!”

Variety began its “My Bike” Program in November 2012, and since the program kicked off, more than 1,100 adaptive bikes have been sponsored for eligible kids throughout Variety’s 50-county service area in Pennsylvania and

West Virginia.

The cost to sponsor one adaptive bike is $1,800.

“Every child deserves to have a bike, and every child deserves to ride a bike with his or her friends or family, and to feel like they are a part of their neighborhood,” said Charles LaVallee, CEO of Variety.

“These adaptive bikes give kids with disabilities a taste of freedom, a sense of belonging and the opportunity to have childhood experiences and memories that we want for all of our children.”

Variety currently serves 40 counties in Pennsylvania, including Bedford, Blair, Cambria, Centre, Clearfield and Huntingdon, and 10 counties in West Virginia.

LaVallee is calling on the community to help identify eligible children for the program, spread the word and assist in raising funds for more adaptive bikes.

Variety’s “My Bike” Program serves children and youth who have a documented physical, mental or sensory disability; are between the ages of 4 through 21; reside in one of the 50 counties that Variety services; and can meet the eligibility guidelines outlined in the application.

More information and the application can be found at www.varietypittsburgh.org/Bike

Application.asp.