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Stroller, bike giveaways at Carbon Lehigh Intermediate Unit change lives

Kristen Seiler pushes her daughter, Lilly, in her new adaptive stroller at the Carbon Lehigh Intermediate Unit.
Sarah Hofius Hall
Kristen Seiler pushes her daughter, Lilly, in her new adaptive stroller at the Carbon Lehigh Intermediate Unit.

A crowd lined the hallway at the Carbon Lehigh Intermediate Unit as Lilly Seiler rode in her custom stroller for the first time.

The Lehigh County 12-year-old beamed as her mother, Kristen Seiler, pushed the stroller.

Over the last four years, several groups have come together to supply more than $100,000 in equipment to children with special needs in Carbon, Schuylkill, Northampton and Lehigh counties.

Variety: The Children’s Charity and the intermediate unit work together to identify children in need. Blackburn’s Medical Equipment then custom fits each child.

Variety, based in Pittsburgh, has provided 65 adaptive bikes, communication devices and strollers to children in the region. Statewide, families in 59 counties have received devices through the charity at no cost.

Families at the most recent giveaway received special strollers and said the new equipment will take their children places that bulky wheelchairs cannot.

“We've been told by parents that they feel trapped in their house when they don't have a safe way to get their child out,” said Deanna David, director of programs at Variety. “So the strollers have really been life changing in that sense.”

George Husack is president of the Carbon Lehigh Special Needs Children’s Foundation and assistant director of human resources at the intermediate unit.

“You know, it gives them the opportunity to go out into the community, maybe joining a sibling or other family member to get a chance to go out there and ride a bike or go with a stroller and feel like they're part of the community with their siblings as well,” he said.

That’s exactly what Lilly planned to do.

“She wants to go to the soccer games, the lacrosse games, all the things that are harder with a wheelchair,” her mom said. “So she's really excited to have that accessibility with a stroller.”

But first, Lilly had big plans for that night: dinner with her sister.

Sarah Hofius Hall worked at The Times-Tribune in Scranton since 2006. For nearly all of that time, Hall covered education, visiting the region's classrooms and reporting on issues important to students, teachers, families and taxpayers.

You can email Sarah at sarahhall@wvia.org