Bike program offers chance to ride for special-needs kids at Forbes Hospital in Monroeville
Adrienne Michaels waited excitedly for her son to try out the new bicycle that he would be able to ride.
“This is going to be absolutely wonderful. He's going to be able to ride with his brother instead of just watching,” Michaels said.
Her son Chad, 15, was one of 10 children with disabilities who received specially designed bicycles during an event Sept. 22 at Forbes Hospital in Monroeville through My Bike, a program of Pine-based Variety the Children's Charity.
The three-wheeled bicycles are designed for their owners' needs and have a safety belts or harnesses. The bicycles are equipped with other safety features such as a brake that allows a companion to keep the bicycle stable or slow it down. Each costs about $1,800 but is provided to families for free.
Michaels said that Chad was born with holoprosencephaly, a disorder caused by malformation of part of the brain. She said the condition rules out a typical two-wheel bicycle.
“These are steady enough for him. He's not very patient, so we need something that's going to give some leniency with his movements,” she said.
Variety CEO Charlie LaVallee said he gets satisfaction providing new opportunities for children to live full lives.
“The kids in the room have a special ability to bring joy,” LaVallee said.
Along with My Bike, the group also operates My Voice, which provides communication devices for children with special needs, and My Stroller, which offers adaptive strollers for children with disabilities.
Variety has provided more than 850 bicycles to children since launching My Bike three years ago, according to the group's website. The program serves 39 counties in West Virginia and Pennsylvania.
Gideon Bradshaw is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-871-2369 or email@example.com.