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Adaptive bikes provided to local kids with special needs in Bethlehem

Thursday morning, a handful of Ohio Valley kids with special needs got a big treat as they received adaptive bikes.

Thursday morning, a handful of Ohio Valley kids with special needs got a big treat as they received adaptive bikes.

“As you can see, she loves this thing,” said David Simmons.

Emma Simmons is autistic and non-verbal. Her parents adopted her when she was two years old.

Like many others, her disability makes it almost impossible to do certain things, like ride a bike. That's where the charity Variety comes in.

Variety, The Children's Charity fits and makes adaptive bikes, which they provided to a handful of Ohio Valley kids at Southwestern Energy in Bethlehem Thursday.

"These bikes, the way they're made -- three wheels, we don't call them a trike, we call them a bike -- the three wheels that provides immediate stability,” said Variety CEO Charles Lavallee. “So, depending on what your challenge was, cerebral palsy, down syndrome, spina bifida, now all of a sudden, you can do it.”

The charity also outfits kids with strollers and presents those who are non-verbal with voice and communication devices.

"To provide them with an opportunity to ride a bike, to be able to speak to their parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles. To be able to communicate with them is just a wonderful thing,” David said.

Thursday, five kids got to strap into those bikes and take their first ever real bicycle ride.

"It means a lot. To be able to see her be happy like she is right now,” David said. “She was telling me on her communicator she wanted to ride her bike, that means the world to me

Now, for her family, the toughest thing is going to be getting Emma off the bike she already loves so much.

"She's going to have to get off of it before it goes in the back of the truck,” David laughed.

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