By Jonathan Weaver
After the ACMH 5K race this Saturday, a group of children will also go racing in the hospital parking lot.
Special-needs children that have received adaptive bicycles in Armstrong, Butler and Indiana Counties through the “My Bike” program through Variety, the Children’s Charity will participate in their inaugural ACMH Adaptive Bike Derby Saturday.
As well as two dozen children already committed to the event, proceeds will also go toward the donation of another bike.
Local student and Hospital Volunteer Kaylee Schill of Cowansville raised money through “ReCycling for Cycling” with the help of ACMH.
“The hospital my mom works at is really involved with it. I wanted to be able to help out a child because I feel everybody should be able to experience riding a bike, so I decided to donate money towards this,” Schill said. “I’m in National Honor Society and we had to do a Community Service Project (we had to do something in the community and donate money toward a community service organization,) and I chose the ‘My Bike’ program.”
A senior at Karns City High School, Schill counted up the donations – which range from dollar bills to $100 checks.
“As of right now, we’ve collected $750,” Schill said. “For the cans, we got $255 and the rest of it was donations. One bike costs $1,800, so we were hoping to get as close to that as possible. Whatever we raise will be donated and put toward a bike.”
Schill – who doesn’t drink soda to donate cans herself – likes to ride her bike along the trail at Sugarcreek Community Park.
Brother, Nicholas, is an eighth grader at the high school whereas sister, Olivia, is a student at Sugarcreek Elementary. Schill said Olivia contributed the most of the family.
Schill – a volunteer in the hospital snack bar and patient transport – also collected donations at ACMH two weeks ago with her grandmother, Dorothy Zik.
Fellow students have also given Schill cans toward the project.
Schill’s mother – ACMH Confidential Secretary Lisa Schill – praised her daughter’s effort.
“We donated cans from December on, all my relatives donated cans – it’s astronomical how many people have donated,” Lisa said. “And I think it’s a wonderful project.”
Schill will make a poster with photos and highlights about the project for the NHS Induction Ceremony in a few weeks.
Schill graduates June 5 and will enroll at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh this fall to study pharmacy during the next six years.
“Variety” CEO Charlie LaVallee praised hospital administration CEO John Lewis and Human Resources Vice President Anne Remaley for the inaugural derby idea and Schill for her efforts.
“If our society as a whole values kids like ACMH has demonstrated, we’d have a much better society. They have just been so superb,” LaVallee said. “And it’s so terrific what (Schill) did – the recycling program and the tons of cans she got. I think it’s inspirational – it’s so cool that anybody can make a commitment of time and help another child get a bike. It all adds up before you know it.
“It’s going to change another child’s life.”
LaVallee hopes other hospitals and medical centers notice the event and orchestrate their own.
Bike #500 was given out in Western Pennsylvania last month in Pittsburgh at IBEW Local #5. 56 bikes were given that day altogether.
Another student-run fundraiser example is through The Delta Zeta sorority at Robert Morris University – which donated $5,000 toward the “My Bike” vision.