• Local children with special needs receive early Christmas gifts of new independence


    WEXFORD, Pa. - An early visit from Santa Monday morning brought the gift of new independence to two dozen local children with special needs.

    "This (adaptive bike) is definitely going to help (my son) to join us, to keep up. Like, it's definitely going to be fun. He's going to be more involved when other kids are riding their bikes, you know? That makes a huge difference,” parent Donna Daugherty said.


    From special adaptive strollers to custom bikes and even communication devices, more than $400,000 worth of equipment was presented to children at the Allegheny Health Network's Wexford Health and Wellness Pavilion.

    "I think it's really giving the kids the opportunity to have the typical childhood experiences that we remember,” Charles LaVallee, with Variety the Children’s Charity, said.

    Parents said that children with special needs are often left trying to catch up with their friends who are riding bikes in the street and having fun, not understanding why they’re left out.

    "He kind of already has enough stacked against him when it comes to making friends, so anything that helps with that is a big blessing,” Daugherty said.

    Variety the Children’s Charity, the group behind Monday’s event, still has more bikes, strollers and communication devices available. 

    Anyone interested in learning how to get one or get involved with the charity can visit Variety’s website by CLICKING HERE.

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