Most children remember receiving their first bike, but some grow up without this memory. Through our Freedom Program, Variety the Children’s Charity provides modified tricycles and bicycles for children with special needs who would otherwise be unable to ride. Each bike is customised to suit the individual child’s specific condition, age and ability, allowing them to cycle in safety and with ease. For other families, the reality of purchasing a bicycle is simply out of reach and so Variety also provides new bikes for disadvantaged children.
We’re excited to announce that Kmart is once again working with Variety – the Children’s Charity to help provide much needed bicycles for WA children in need in 2013. All 21 Kmart stores in Western Australia as well as another 150 stores across Australia are fundraising for ‘Bikes4Kids’ as part of the Variety Freedom program through coin collection boxes located at the registers of each store. In 2012, over $208,000 was raised nationally.
Kmart Managing Director Guy Russo praised everyone’s support of the initiative: “Our Kmart team is honoured to be able to provide stores where Australians can support organisations like Variety - the Children’s Charity. Thanks to the generosity of Kmart customers the collection will provide bikes for children who have special needs or are disadvantaged around Australia and bring some smiles to the faces of thousands of children”. Previous Variety bike recipients have sent messages:
“Thanks for the bike. I will take care of it like it’s a puppy or a kitten. I love puppies and kittens. I will ride it to school and back everyday. I will love my bike.”
“Our son was the lucky recipient of a shiny, bright, red bike and helmet. Thank you so much for making that possible. It was a very touching and yet humbling experience to be a part of.”
As a mother of a recent customised tricycle recipient wrote “His face lights up whenever he sees or gets on his bike and he is proud as punch to ride it around the local streets. He also loves giving his little sister and his friends a dink on it. You can just see how happy it makes him to be able to do something for someone else rather than having to have someone do something for him.”
The Bikes4Kids initiative as part of the Freedom program is one of many activities Variety coordinates to empower children who are sick, disadvantaged or have special needs to live, laugh and learn. Presentations will be held at Kmart stores across the nation.
Variety WA CEO Mr Michael Pailthorpe was extremely grateful for the support from Kmart.
“The cost of modifying a bicycle to meet the needs of a child with a physical or developmental disability is hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars, often far beyond the reach of families that are already dealing with extra financial burden,” he said.
“Variety believes every child should get to experience the simple joy of going for a ride on their bike – seeing their face light up that first time is priceless, and we thank Kmart for helping to make this dream a reality for many more WA children over the coming months”