Inside a home in DuBois Katelyn Siple spends her day. like many 5th graders. playing with her dog. However, Katelyn didn’t always have the chance to take part in many of the activities in which 11 year-olds participate.
“‘She used to sit and watch the children in the surrounding area and say ‘oh mom look at that!’,” explains Katelyn’s mom, Becky Siple.
Katelyn uses a walker to get around because she suffers from Spina Biffida and Autism. Her mom says the diseases has put hurdles into Katelyn’s everyday life, “She would never be able to ride a bike on her own because her feet would slip off the pedals.”
However, Variety, the Children’s Charity has changed that. The Pittsburgh based non profit has provided Katelyn with an adaptive bike custom made just for her.
“It’s just enabled her to have a whole new life. The first time she rode the bike she was hollering at her friends in the neighborhood ‘come ride bikes with me’,” says Siple.
It has three wheels, a wider seat with a seat belt and of course, Katelyn specified, that it had to be hot pink. It also has a steering controls in the back for mom to control, says Becky, “to also be there for safety so she doesn’t go down a hill or go too fast and wreck.”
It’s part of the “My-Bike” program, which Variety offers, without having families pay a penny. “There’s no catch to it, we raise the money. We get the equipment to the children,” says Board member Dominic Sgro.
The charity also has strollers and a “My Voice” program, which helps parents communicate with non-verbal children. “Those children all they want to do is accomplish something, all we’re doing is giving them tools,” adds Sgro.
Right now the group has 500 pieces of equipment it’s looking to give away to any family who qualify living within 42 counties in Pennsylvania . The group says they keep their requirements to a minimum to include as many children as they can. “The bike allows her the freedom to be a child,” says Siple.