Kody Conley was all smiles Thursday afternoon after receiving a new, blue, custom-designed adaptive stroller from Variety, the Children’s Charity, at the Pittsburgh Mills mall.
“Look how happy he is,” his mother Kim Conley said.
Kody, 15, has epidermal nevus syndrome. He has been using a motorized wheelchair since he was 5 and, while it is good for him to use in school, it has posed problems in other situations. It doesn’t work well in the snow, takes up a lot of space, and weighs a lot, his mom said. Plus, not everywhere is handicapped accessible.
“You think of your options, and there are none,” Conley said.
Such situations are why Variety started its “My Stroller” Program, which gives adaptive strollers to children with disabilities.
Kody was one of 12 youngsters who received a stroller from the charity on Thursday.
“When you have a chair like this that somebody can just push, and take, then you open up so many other possibilities for him to be able to do activities,” Conley said.
“You can fold it up and throw it in the back of the trunk,” Variety’s CEO Charles LaVallee said.
Jahnelle McCorkle also got a stroller Thursday. She is 9 and has cerebral palsy. She cannot walk and uses a wheelchair. Her mother, Danielle McCorkle, said the new stroller will be much easier to manage.
“My goal is to leave her wheelchair in the school and just transport her in my van and the stroller,” McCorkle said. “That way, it will just be easier when we go to the store. Any outings will just be easier in the stroller.”
In addition to bikes and strollers, the charity also provides communication devices for non-verbal children.
To apply for a stroller, families must reside in the charity’s service area, provide an official diagnosis by a medical professional along with a letter of recommendation, fill out an application and meet the charity’s income guidelines.
The charity provides strollers for children between the ages of 4 and 21. To get an application, visit www.varietypittsburgh.org/mystroller.
Madasyn Czebiniak is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 412-320-7822 or [email protected].