WV children with disabilities get life-changing equipment

MORGANTOWN, W.Va (WDTV) - Monday was a life-changing day for dozens of children in North Central West Virginia, as they got customized equipment fit for their specific needs.

Many of these children have disabilities that limit their ability to go for a bike ride and now, they can do that with the help of bikes and strollers from Variety - the Children's Charity.

"We want to have impact and that's what these bikes really have," said Mike Schmeck, the Chairman of Variety's board. "They're changing kids, families, neighborhoods. Seeing these kids out riding about -- these kids aren't left behind anymore."

Some children got devices to help with verbal communication. This way, children can tell their families if they need something, or if something is wrong.

"There are times that she's not verbal," said Ronna Righter from Harrison County. "If we go out to dinner or she doesn't feel well, she can hit that button that says 'hey I'm sick."

Since Righter's daughter, Emily, was young, she has had to watch her brother ride his bike. Now, she can go with him. She suffers from autism and now has another way to verbally communicate with others.

"In the summers and spring, she would stand upstairs and watch her little brother riding his bike. And you could tell that that want was there and now she can ride her bike with her little brother," Righter said.

For many parents, this is a day that they may have been told wouldn't happen. Watching their child get on that bike or stroller for the first time on Monday -- it was a day they're sure to never forget.

"Now we can all go together and he gets to participate and feel like he's one of the big kids just like his older brothers," said Heather Miavitz from Monongalia County."