Smithton patient gets first bike through charity
Abigail Yenich rode a bike for the first time last week.
Abigail, a 7-year-old from Smithton, received a lime-green adaptive bike from the “My Bike” program, sponsored by Variety, a Pittsburgh-based children's charity during a meeting at Excela Square at Norwin.
Abigail receives pediatric treatments at Excela Square at Norwin. She has cerebral palsy and vision problems.
Her adaptive bike has three wheels and safety features to accommodate riders with special needs, such as large reclining seats, safety harnesses and modified handlebars.
It's more than a toy. It allows Abigail's family to go for bike rides together, her father, Vaughn, said.
“There are a lot of activities she just can't do,” Vaughn said. “Now, she has an opportunity to be on a bicycle.
“Without this, she'd never get to ride a normal bicycle or even get that experience.”
Variety already offers the “My Bike” program, but plans to expand it into Westmoreland County, according to Charie LaValle, Variety chief executive officer, during a kickoff event at Excela Square at Norwin.
The organization is looking to give adaptive bicycles to children with disabilities throughout the county, LaValle said.
“We want to enable children with disabilities to live their lives to the fullest,” LaValle said. “We want them to have these basic opportunities, like riding a bike.”
Variety began the “My Bike” program last November, and has distributed 180 bicycles. Each one is customized with safety features for each child and is designed based on the child's specific disability, LaValle said.
The organization hopes to collect sponsorships to provide more bikes, LaValle said.
Each bike costs $1,800, and is paid for through sponsorships, LaValle said. Currently, the organization has 65 adaptive bikes sponsored and ready to be distributed to disabled children, he said.
Although Variety serves a 10-county area, LaValle said all donations can be designated by county.
Abigail's new bike has given the Yeniches more than a family activity — it's given them hope.
Her mother, Suzanne Yenich, thinks the bike and its repetitive pedaling motion could eventually help her daughter learn how to walk.
“It's just a great thing for our family,” Suzanne said.
For more information on the “My Bike” program, or to make a donation, call 412-747-2680.
Brad Pedersen is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8626, or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.