PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – The holidays will be a whole lot happier for dozens of children with special needs who received bicycles, built specifically for them.
Being able to ride a bike for the very first time is something the kids will never forget.
“It was like hard to get used to, but when I got on it for the first time, I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, This is so amazing,” Isiah Witkowski said.
Witkowski, 10, who has cerebral palsy and autism said he’s waited a long time to ride on his own. His mom has been waiting just as long.
“This is giving him the opportunity to finally be a 10-year-old boy out there with the kids, riding bikes and not being pulled in the wagon behind all of them. This is his opportunity to finally have memories and we are so excited,” Jolene Alberico said.
Isiah and 80 other kids with special needs received adaptive bikes at an event hosted by Variety, the Children’s Charity.
The group is dedicated to enriching the lives of children with disabilities
“This gives them really the opportunity to be children, to have a sense of freedom and independence. As one mother said for her children not to be left out, left behind,” Charlie LaVallee said.
Each bike is customized for the individual child and most of them come with some type of safety harness.
“Some kids need more trunk support, some need more neck support, so each bike has to be made exactly for each individual child,” LaVallee said.
Since November, Variety has handed out a total of 220 bikes at $1,800 apiece. The money was donated by businesses, organizations and individuals throughout the community.
It’s a price well worth all of the smiles and all of the memories these rides will bring.