The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

February 26, 2014

Getting kids off the sidelines | Charity gives specialty bikes to needy children


The Tribune-Democrat

JOHNSTOWN — “I want to ride my bicycle, I want to ride my bike;

I want to ride my bicycle, I want to ride it where I like.”

– “Bicycle Race”

by Queen.



Childhood is all about running, swinging, playing games and exploring the unknown.

But for some children, it’s sitting on the sidelines watching as siblings and friends have all the fun, unable to participate because of mental or physical limitations.

So it was especially gratifying to read, in a story by reporter Randy Griffith, that seven area children are on the sidelines no longer, given the gift of mobility through specially designed adapted bicycles.

Variety, a Pittsburgh-based charity, presented the bikes last Thursday at Somerset Hospital’s Wheeler Family Medical Center.

“We enable children with disabilities to live life to the fullest,” said Charlie LaVallee, Variety’s CEO.

It’s heartwarming to know that local sponsors didn’t hesitate when approached about helping with the project.

“This is the best $1,800 donation we’ve ever made,” said Steve Shaulis, president of Edgewood Aerie 1801, Fraternal Order of Eagles lodge of Somerset. “The smiles on these children’s faces brought a tear to my eye.”

It’s been said that variety is the spice of life. And that is especially true for seven individuals whose lives have been spiced up with the feeling of independence.