Children’s charity gives free adaptive bikes, strollers to kids with special needs

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – Local kids with disabilities got free adaptive bikes, strollers, and communication devices on Tuesday.

Pittsburgh-based children’s charity Variety donated more than 30 items, worth more than $48,000. The nonprofit does this in 65 counties in Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

“You guys are the real stars every day. We’re just trying to help you empower your kids to have the best life they can have,” Variety CEO Charles LaVallee said.

Dozens of local families got what they say is life-changing equipment to help their kids live more normal lives. The adaptive bikes and strollers were all specialized for each child, right down to the color.

“It’s a big deal. She has a lot of things that aren’t normal, so to be able to do something normal is big,” said Heather Smith, whose daughter Charley received an adaptive bike.

To qualify, families need to fill out an application and meet the income guidelines, $128,750 for a family of four.

“If you’re raising a child with disabilities, you’re spending four to five times what you would spend to raise a typical child,” LaVallee said.

“I just had to quit my job this year due to all of her therapies. We couldn’t make it to work and to therapy, so having programs that allow us to take care of our kids and still provide them with what they need is amazing,” Smith said.

The nonprofit has given out about 3,000 bikes, strollers, and communication devices to kids since 2012.

The nonprofit says this is all made possible through $5.7 million in total from community donations and grants.

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