BOSTON (CBS) — Every kid should have a bike, right? Well for children with special needs, that may mean a special bike, a very expensive bike.
That’s why there’s a new program called “Bug’s Bikes.” The idea of a 5-year-old, it has grown into a community wide, team effort, to help.
Bug is 5-year-old Steven De Angelis. Steven has vision problems with high functioning autism and other medical issues, but when he’s riding his adaptive bike: “It’s therapy. It’s independence. He has an ability to just go and be free,” says his mother Kelly.
Steven’s parents had to save for a while to buy his bike, but when he went to an adaptive bike camp at the Franciscan Hospital for Children last spring, he had a 5 year old’s revelation.
“He realized he was the only kid bringing his bike home ever day, and he wanted to know why the other kids weren’t bringing their bikes home,” says Kelly. Cost was the big reason. Depending on a child’s specific needs, these bikes range in cost from about $600 to as high as $4000.
“For most families it’s very out of reach because therapy, medical needs, other equipment comes first,” says Kelly. But Steven had an idea; a lemonade stand.
“He wanted to raise money to help other kids get bikes like his,” his mom says. Word got out and over the course of 3 days, $2000 was collected. Bug’s Bikes was born.
Recently they gave their first adaptive bike to 5-year-old Sienna Brown of Belmont.
“We were so overwhelmed and overjoyed,” says Sienna’s mother Gina Brown. “When she got the bike she was so excited. She gave Steven the biggest hug, and just to see her face light up, it just made my heart just melt,” she adds.
Sienna’s mother already sees a difference. “When they ride these bikes they’re using all the muscles in their legs, they’re using hand and eye coordination. I see her getting a little bit stronger each time she’s on it,” she says.
The effort has grown out of the idea of one little boy. “We went from a lemonade stand to about 470 friends on Facebook, to community groups that are involved,” says Kelly De Angelis. And together, they’re getting it done. “No matter what their ability, agility, disability is, every child deserves that childhood experience of riding a bike,” Kelly says.
The short-term goal of Bug’s Bikes is to raise enough money to provide 5 more children with these special, adaptive bikes.
Do you know people who are working together to make a difference in their communities? If so, let WBZ-TV Producer Ken Tucci know: firstname.lastname@example.org.