Twenty Shriners Hospital patients will ride into the New Year on a new cycle, custom-designed to meet their specific needs thanks to the Freedom Program sponsored by Variety, the Children’s Charity. Variety’s Freedom Program gives children with physical challenges the gift of mobility by providing adaptive bicycles, trikes and other equipment that promote independence, mobility and freedom.
Shriners Hospital Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation specialists Loren Davidson, M.D., Maya Evans, M.D., and Shauna Arsenault, M.D., often refer spina bifida, cerebral palsy and spinal cord injury patients to Variety to be fitted for adaptive cycles. Seeing a steady growth in the number of referrals, Variety funded the purchase of 20 Freedom cycles for Shriners kids and organized a special event to personally deliver the bikes to recipients.
“It was amazing,” said Erica Daharsh, a social worker and care manager who works with the rehabilitation team at the Northern California Shriners Hospital. Families of patients scheduled to receive an adaptive cycle were invited to a special event at the hospital on December 15. Shriners Hospital doctors and other members of the rehabilitation team joined representatives from Variety, who encouraged patients to “test drive” their new cycles and made adjustments as needed.
“It was a great collaborative effort, and Variety was appreciative of the support provided by our physicians,” said Daharsh.
There were many grateful parents and patients, too. “One of the patients who received a cycle is 17 years old, and his parents never thought he would have an opportunity to ride a bike. Now he can go to the park and ride with other kids,” said Daharsh.
To learn more about Variety, the Children’s Charity go online to www.usvarietync.org.