Variety Teen Kathryn has been a part of the Variety family for much of her life – you may remember our recent stories on her new power wheelchair that she received in 2017.
Now, we want to share another way that Variety has helped Kathryn. Over the years, she has received multiple therapeutic bikes from Variety St. Louis. In 2010, she received her first recumbent style bike from Variety, which she has loved – literally – to pieces.
At our most recent Bikes for Kids, in 2018, Kathryn received a brand new therapeutic bike. Her mom, Julie, wrote a note expressing her family’s gratitude, as well as just how much this bike helps Kathryn every day. You can read this sweet note below.
Dear Variety Helpers,
Our family would like to extend a sincere THANK YOU to all who make the Variety Bikes for Kids happen. First, thank you to the donors who realize their funds can truly make a difference in kids’, and therefore their family’s, lives. Second, thank you to all the Variety staff and volunteers that make Variety Bikes for Kids day actually happen. The time, organization, communication, publication, and installation are all time consuming donations from each of you to get the bikes to us in such a delightful way. Thank you!
Kathryn has been so blessed using her adaptive bike over the years. We were blessed many years ago with our first one, which we grew out of and went to a recumbent style. We have used the recumbent style bike for the last eight years, and Kathryn has used it so much that we have replaced almost every part and it was literally on its last miles with all the replacements this year. We thankfully live in a neighborhood that has a 1/3 mile loop and, if the weather is close to tolerable, you will see us outside with Kathryn riding her bike a mile or more, making laps around our neighborhood.
The adaptive bike not only enables Kathryn to stay healthy and sleep better, but it provides amazing social interaction. Kathryn has severe spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy. The adaptive bike, because of all its fittings, allows us to steer and get a work out while Kathryn pushes with her legs to help propel the bike. This keeps much needed circulation in her legs and feet, allows her to get cardiovascular exercise and stretches out her extremely tight legs. All of this helps keep her chest clear, her body healthy, and her nights more comfortable due to less leg cramping.
On the social side, the bike guarantees Kathryn time outside with us as a family, her aids (who are her friends), and gives an amazing opportunity for her to be a peer with our neighborhood kids. It is the only activity I can text my neighbors and say, “Hey, can you join us?” and they are excited to go. Often, you will see Kathryn with two to five kids riding their bikes alongside her, and, as of recent, they stay afterwards in our driveway to play ball with Kathryn. It truly is a joy to see.
So thank you so much for providing the equipment that enables these natural interactions and friendships to occur, and that makes such a healthy activity so fun.
We sincerely are grateful,
Julie and family
We’d also like to say thank you to all those who make stories like this possible. You are truly making a difference! If you’d like to learn more about Bikes for Kids program, click here.