By Rick Dayton

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Former U.S. Congressman Tony Coelho of California was at Webb Park in Rennerdale this weekend, and not for a family reunion.

It was more of a birthday party with two very special presents.

“There are kids who have never ridden a bike before that are riding a bike, and they haven’t ridden a bike because of their disability – and now through Charlie and his people, they are making bikes for these kids to ride for the first time in their life,” said Coelho.

Sisters Leah and Olivia McGurk received the bikes from the local charitable organization variety. Each bike costs about $1,800. For Coelho, the simple fact that kids with disabilities are riding bikes is a sign of how much has changed since his bill was signed by President Bush in 1990.

“People with disabilities are willing to talk about their disabilities, but they know that they are protected if they do, and it’s just that attitudinal change that society is accepting a lot of us with disabilities,” Coelho said.

And while much work has been done, the 73-year-old Coelho, who was diagnosed with epilepsy as a teen, says he cannot wait to see what the next 10 to 25 years brings.

“Technology has taken over in regards to accessibility for those of us with disabilities. Our phones – everything that technology is into today makes it disability friendly.”

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