KIDS ON THE GO! SPORTS MOBILITY PROGRAM
It’s a beautiful day for a bike ride. Placing one foot on the right peddle while you push off with your left is as natural as sneezing. For the able bodied, once you mastered how to ride a two-wheel bike, you never thought about these mechanics again.
These rites of passage are anticipated and expected for most of us, but not for many children afflicted by disabilities, disorders, diseases or permanently damaged in accidents. Whether the child has Cerebral palsy, Spina Bifida, Dravet Syndrome (SMEI), Down’s Syndrome, Transvere Myelitis, a neurological disorder seen in one person out a million, or more common developmental delays, those kids want to be just as active and mobile like any other.
As new sports-mobility technologies are created and improved, Variety would like to see children with disabilities access these opportunities. Kids on the Go! is part of a national Variety effort to provide support for children and their families in the form of durable medical equipment that they cannot afford or are denied by their health insurance. In many cases, devices like adaptive bikes and special needs strollers are not covered. Despite their immense physical and therapeutic benefits, insurance may not reimburse this cost because it doesn’t consider them to be necessary items. Even wheelchairs can take up to two years to be funded by insurance.
Lucy May Hylton on her specialized XLT Handcycle, able to ride for the first time with her best friend.
Variety’s National Mobility Program provides much needed assistance to children with mobility concerns. Over the years, we have found that these children desperately want to be active members of their communities. But they need what most of us take for granted: access. For children with disabilities, this means having the freedom to go where they want to, either on their own, or if they need assistance, reducing the impact they make on those helping them. With the advent of many new mobility technologies, this access is becoming available to more and more children. The goal of our Mobility Program is to see that they get it.
KIDS ON THE GO! and MOBILITY SPORTS
One thing Variety of Illinois knows is that the majority of people do not realize the extent to which a disabled athlete needs sports equipment to play a game. For instance, purchasing athletic shoes is innumerably less expensive than is the cost of adaptive equipment. An adaptive leg for amputees can cost up to $80,000 and a sports adaptive wheelchair can cost around $4000.
In 2008, the Illinois Mobility programs, which also include Kids on the Go!, provided adaptive sports and medical equipment to Illinois children. These donations support a network of relationships and skills for a child. The most interesting thing that I have experienced is how much adversity these kids go through just to participate in athletic activities, said Trent Thenhaus, Windy City Warriors Adapted Sports Coordinator, who works closely with Variety of Illinois to coordinate Mobility Sports! Everyone knows about how social interactions benefit all kids, but to give kids with disabilities the opportunity to have that social network through athletics can transform their outlooks in life.
The ratio of cost for adaptive bicycles and tricycles is similar. The generosity of Variety’s donations covers expenses that many parents are unable to afford. Programs like Variety’s Kids on the Go! help them to get the full benefits of life, added Thenhaus.
The tent’s contributions support children’s sense of teamwork, communication, and self-esteem, as it builds partnership with organizations like Windy City Warriors to help Illinois children gain a positive, firm perspective of the world. Illinois mobility programs are supported in part by Fred Astaire Dance Studios, Prospect Airport Services, and the Jacob J. Fink Foundation.
DOWNLOAD VARIETY KIDS ON THE GO! GRANT APPLICATION
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DOWNLOAD VARIETY KIDS ON THE GO! Q&A
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