Friday, January 19 was a very special day for six-year old Liam Connelly and five-year old Liam Trefelner of Pennsylvania. It was the day they took their first ride on their very own adaptive bikes, custom-built for kids with disabilities. It is part of a Guardian Cares “Power of Purple” initiative by the employees of Guardian Protection Services, Warrendale, Pa., in conjunction with Variety, the Children’s Charity.
It’s been a decade of collaboration between Guardian and Variety and unique this year because one of Guardian’s own, Christina Trefelner, a 10-year employee in the Customer Care department, received a bike for her son Liam. According to Mrs. Trefelner, Liam had been eagerly asking on how many more wake-ups there would be until the day he would go to Guardian, get on his shiny new lime green adaptive bike and take his very first bike ride.
Trefelner spoke about how life-changing Liam’s bike will be:
As determined as Liam is, he has obstacles that he has to overcome daily. As Liam’s parent, I see how he wants to ride a standard bike, but just doesn’t have the core strength to pull himself or the coordination/balance to do so. Each time we go to the store, he asked for a bike, he asked Santa every year for one as well. This bike will allow Liam to go, allow him to join in with children his age, allow him to keep up with his brother. This bike will bring a smile to his face that has been shadowed by the fear of falling. It will mean the world to our little family and this gift will honestly be immeasurable.
Donna Connelly, mother of Liam Connelly, commented on the difference the bike will make:
Liam loves the outdoors, loves to be active, and this bike makes him feel like he’s all grown up. It makes me feel good that he will be able to build up muscle tone in his legs and do something that I’d always hoped he’d be able to do.
Connelly added, that, thanks to the stationary stand included with the bike, Liam can also ride in place inside the house while he’s watching his favorite TV shows.
According to Bryan Cipoletti, president of Guardian Protection Services, the bike initiative is a Guardian Cares community-based endeavor that is nearly 100% underwritten by the employees.
It’s exciting to see the level of care and generosity that our employees have shown to Variety. Without their efforts, this would not be possible. The Variety effort by our employees is an extension of our work, helping to protect and enhance people’s lives in every way we can.
Cipoletti emphasized that Guardian actively looks each year for families who have kids with disabilities to whom they can give away a custom-built adaptive bike, stroller, or communication device. Interested families can contact WeCare@gpsx.net