DAUPHIN COUNTY, Pa. — Children were disabilities were given the opportunity to ride a bike for the very first time Tuesday afternoon.
The children's charity Variety teamed up with the Capital Blue Cross to hand out seven new pieces of adaptive equipment to children with disabilities in Susquehanna Township.
The four adaptive bicycles and three strollers were custom-made to accommodate the child's physical needs, all coming at no cost.
"If you're raising a child with disabilities, you're spending four to five times the cost of a typical child. If you meet our income guidelines and the therapist writes a letter, there's no cost to the families," said Charlie LaVallee with Variety.
One recipient, Janessa Joseph, lives with a mental disability.
Janessa received her first bike when she was in first grade. Now 16 years old, she received a new bike that'll last her as she continues to grow up.
"For us, it means going to Hershey Park, you go to the beach, and you go on the boardwalk, so it’s been a lifeline for us," said Janessa's mom, Julie.
LaVallee describes the equipment as significantly impacting a family's life.
"It enables them to be part of, to belong, plus get the physical exercise, many of our kids need the therapy," said LaVallee.
Variety also offers families custom strollers and communication devices called MyVoice.
In total, Variety has provided families with more than 6,000 pieces of adaptive equipment since 2012. LaVallee urges families of children with disabilities to apply for their equipment online. To get started, click here.