Saint Vincent teams up to give away adaptive bikes, strollers
It didn't take long for six-year-old Emily Kaster of Corry to learn how to use her new adaptive bicycle.
ERIE, Pa. - It didn't take long for six-year-old Emily Kaster of Corry to learn how to use her new adaptive bicycle.
"The second time we went around, she was peddling by herself. I could feel the speed and I was like 'okay, you need to slow down," Emily's mother, Alyssa Kaster.
Emily is one of thirteen kids who received the bikes, adaptive strollers or communication devices Monday. It's all made possible through a partnership between Saint Vincent Hospital and the non-profit Variety Children's Charity of Wexford, Pa. An additional three children were fitted for a bike following the event.
The bikes are developed specifically for children with physical disabilities, customized to fit each child, equipped with straps and seat-belts so they can ride without a worry.
"It gives them a chance to be involved and not stuck at home," said Charles LaVallee, chief executive officer of Variety.
"It's especially important around the holidays to be able to provide these adaptive strollers and bikes," said Dr. Christopher Clark, Saint Vincent CEO.
The equipment is valued between $1,200-$1,800. But the cost for families? Completely free. It's a blessing for the Hart family, of Linesville, who had previously purchased a different type of bike for their nine-year-old son, Jonathan, but it wasn't a good fit.
"It was lower to the ground, but he struggled with being able to peddle it because he doesn't have the strength in his legs," said Jonathan's mother, Melissa Hart.
The giving doesn't stop here, LaVallee noted. Variety has enough funding to help more than 500 children either with those strollers, the bikes or the communication devices.
"Here's a chance to get these kids a voice or a fun chance to ride with their siblings," he said. Those interested in learning more about Variety and applying for an adaptive bike through the program can find more information here.
And Jonathan can't wait to hit the road.
When asked where he wants to ride his new bike, an eager Jonathan said "Everywhere!"