12 local children with disabilities receive special gift

12 children with disabilities from Clearfield and Centre counties received a special gift Thursday. (WJAC)

12 children with disabilities from Clearfield and Centre counties received a special gift Thursday.

Variety – the Children’s Charity, donated five adaptive bikes, five adaptive strollers and two communication devices at Cen-Clear in Philipsburg.

Variety is a charity dedicated to providing kids with disabilities experiences and equipment so they can live life to the fullest.

"When I see these kids get on these bikes for the first time, their joy transforms me and I'm a better person because of them," said Variety's CEO Charlie LaVallee. "I wish everybody could have that joy to watch these kids get these bikes and be transformed themselves. I thought I was doing this for them but now I found out they've changed me."

Lydia Swatsworth, 13, of Curwensville, received a bike.

Swatsworth said a regular bike hurt her bike and prevented her from being involved.

"Now I'll be able to have fun and keep up with my friends," Swatsworth said.

Swatsworth's mother said the adaptive bike will help her daughter enjoy their family bike rides, check stuff out and talk with the family without focusing on staying level.

Zahir Hamilton, 9, of Houtzdale, received a stroller.

Catherine Greenawalt, Hamilton's mother, said her son was using a wheelchair that had to be broke down each time the family went somewhere.

Greenawalt said the new stroller will make their lives much easier.

"When we leave here we are going to go to McDonald's and going inside," Greenawalt said. "Normally we just go through the drive thru because it's too much of a pain to go inside. He doesn't get the opportunity like other kids to do the simple things in life."

Since 2012, more than 2,500 adaptive bikes, adaptive strollers, and communication devices have been sponsored for eligible kids throughout Variety’s 54-county service area in Pa. and West Virginia.

Those interested in helping a disabled child should contact Variety.

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