Local kids receive adaptive bikes from VGM - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Local kids receive adaptive bikes from VGM

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WATERLOO (KWWL) -

Rolling into the summer with a new-found freedom, some local kids got to experience the feel of the open road for the first time on Monday.  VGM surprised five children with adaptive bicycles and scooters.

"Check this out!" yelled 8-year-old Abraham Sarabia, as he took off on his new bike.

Four children with various mental and physical disabilities discovered the joy of riding a bike, all with huge smiles on their faces.

"This is the best bike ever. I want to ride it because it is so much fun," said Abraham.

The adaptive bikes will allow the kids to keep up with their siblings this summer.

"She can ride bikes with her sisters. She can go up and down the road all by herself and be a normal, independent child," said Brooke Little, whose daughter received a bike.

VGM was also able to provide independence in other ways. The company gifted 9-year-old Hannah Smith from Evansdale, a new scooter for getting around school.

And 12-year-old Alec Gotto from Dyersville received a state-of-the-art robot, which will allow him to eat on his own. 

Last summer, a picture of Alec in his wheelchair leading his steer around the show ring went viral.

"Even more independence when it comes to eating time. He can do it when he wants and quit when he wants. Independence again," said Alec's dad, Chad Gotto.

Because Alec is paralyzed from the neck down, he'll be able to use his head to push buttons that will operate the robot arm.

All of the devices were paid for by VGM, as part of carrying on the vision of founder Van Miller.

"Best thing in the world. That is what VGM was founded on; make great things happen for people who are less fortunate and let them become enabled. That is what we are trying to do. Enable the folks that don't have the same fortune that we do."    

The event was part of VGM's annual Heartland Conference, which is held every year in Waterloo.

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