Meet the Kids – Austin

Diagnosed with Cornelia de Lange syndrome, Austin has significant developmental and intellectual delays
and requires regular supervision. Austin is unable to ride a traditional bicycle on his own due to balance
issues and a general inability to discern danger and perform safe riding procedures.
Child information:
Austin is a very happy and energetic 16-year-old boy whose favorite things include Sonic the Hedgehog,
Legos, video games, and going on adventures with his family. One of Austin’s favorite activities consists
of family bike rides through a local park and being able to feel the wind in his face. Ever since he was a
toddler, Austin would always light up at the mention of taking a ride in the ‘Zoom-Zoom (his bike trailer).
When Austin outgrew the bike trailer, we were extremely fortunate to receive a hybrid trike/trailer from
VarietyKC in 2015 that allowed the family ride to continue. Now, seven years later, Austin has again
outgrown his trike and we are looking for a way we can continue offering Austin a means to participate in
an activity that brings him so much life and joy (as well as exercise). Due to Austin’s delays, he requires a
‘captain’ to manage steering, braking, looking for cars and people, and generally staying safe. He much
prefers being a passenger so he can give his full attention to more ‘important’ things! This means we are
in need of a tandem bike with a recumbent/adaptive feature for the passenger. Extensive research led to
the Hase Pino Steps tandem bike: https://www.rad-innovations.com/hase-bikes-pino.html This bike’s
adjustable frame will allow for the family to continue with our cycling tradition even as Austin grows into
adulthood. We are thankful for your consideration as we look for ways to help keep Austin active in a
sport he truly loves.  Donate to Varietykc.com

Meet the Kids – Anie

Meet the Kids – Anie

Anie was diagnosed with a rare and unnamed genetic deletion and duplication disorder. (Slow motility)

Anje is a happy little girl who loves her life. She is everyone’s darling at home with family, at school, and out in the community.  Anje does not know that she is different from other children. She
laughs and plays, and likes to help in the kitchen, and snuggle on the couch for storybook time. But, her family knows that Anje has a rare genetic mutation that affects her globally. She has a string of diagnoses and none of them can stop her, especially with the right equipment. A tandem recumbent trike will provide Anje with an opportunity to enjoy exercising outdoors with her family. She loves pedaling her bike as the wind blows through her hair. From bike trailer, to tricycle, to WeeHoo, she was always ready to cycle for pleasure. And, while she is having fun, she is receiving all the benefits we all enjoy from exercise. Cycling helps Anje to overcome deficiencies of low muscle tone,
improves Anje’s core strength, and thus her breathing…….and helps her digestive system motility so that there are  fewer evenings with belly cramps. A tandem recumbent trike is perfect for Anje and her family, and this bike has the ability to grow with her as she continues to grow!  She will get many years out of this bike.

Knowing that Anie loves to cycle means she’ll be happily riding this bike for years to come. Every kid deserves the chance to ride a bike, please help Variety make it possible for all.  Donate today at www.varietykc.org/donate    Thank you!

Molly’s Sensory Room at KCI

Molly’s Sensory Room

Molly used her warm smile and sparkling eyes to make others feel wanted and welcomed. This sensory room honors Molly’s friendly legacy by greeting travelers and making them feel at ease and comfortable. Welcome – everyone belongs here in Molly’s room!

Visit www.VarietyKC.org to learn more about the kids who have inspired inclusive elements here at the airport and the inclusive efforts taking place all over the city. #KCInclusionRevolution

Thank you Caring Program

How Kansas City combines its giving to help Variety KC Kids! The Caring Program through Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City offers their employees a chance to combine their giving strength. When everyone gives a little – it helps a whole lot! Recently they funded several Variety KC Kids, and we want to thank them in a very public way so their organization knows how much they mean to us!

Because of the Caring Program, three children received an iPad and accessories for communication. A young man received a wheelchair for mobility, and a young woman received a sports wheelchair so she could participate in inclusive sports.

So much of the equipment needed by children with special needs is NOT covered by insurance, and the high-cost means going without.

When you add the word “adaptive” or “assistive” to a product, you can assume the price is many times more than its original non-adaptive product. For example, a child’s tricycle. You can find them at most stores for $40-$100. But an adaptive tricycle with its special safety and adaptive features can run $2,500 or more.

Thank you Caring Program! Your generosity throughout the years has enhanced so many lives and made so much possible. You are true difference makers!

Most Inclusive Airport Terminal in the World

“Pinch me – it’s really happening!”   the new Variety KC  Family Play Zonein the new airport terminal is just 5-6 months from completion.

I remember approaching the planners and builders at the very start of this process. At that time there were only a couple inclusive tools in airports in the world available to travelers. We knew the barriers to traveling with a child with cognitive or physical disabilities, and we knew there were ways to make it possible – but would the designers of the new airport see it as a priority?   They did!  From the start! And our fund-raising was launched.”

Variety KC is proud to unveil the first all inclusive play area in the new international airport. All families and ALL kids can p;lay together before or after flying into KCI! The airplane themed room will be a place for families to jiggle out and make new friends. It will be complete with a fun play structure with sensory boards and a tower for kids to use their imaginations.  We also have a fun heart shaped selfie station and interactive installation  to enjoy!

We are also proud to dedicate the Molly’s Sensory Room in loving memory of Variety KC advocate Molly Bolton. A place for kids and adults to gather themselves if they get over stimulated while at the airport.

The Maddox Simulator Room allows parents to prepare their children for what to expect when flying. Children, particularly those on the Autism spectrum, benefit from familiarity. Being able to first experience the simulator will reduce triggers brought on by the unknown or surprises. Both rooms are named for Variety KC Kids who were leaders in their own fights for inclusion, but who passed away before the airport was completed. This room is dedicated in loving memory of  Variety KC superstar- Maddox Truitt.

Airport Signs_Maddox_26JUL22 (2)In addition to the Maddox Simulator Room and Molly Sensory Room, Variety emphasizes the importance of the Universal Changing Stations both in and outside the Security Area. These special restrooms allow parents to change their child or an adult with dignity. (a huge plus for those who need help with restroom visits). We are honored to dedicate these Universal Changing Areas in memory of Olivia Bloomfield and all her advocacy for positive change in our community.

The priority placed on Accessible Parking will also set this airport above the rest and
TSA has a special program to help those who need more time or extra hands!!

 

Variety KC has been leading a drive to become the most inclusive city in the nation, partnering with the city of KCMO, KCMO Parks and Rec, Sporting KC, The Current, Kauffman Center for Performing Arts, the KC Zoo, Starlight Theatre, B&B Theatres, Spinning Tree Theatre, the Royals, the Mavericks, the Monarchs and more. By making the new terminal inclusive for the 26% of Americans who have some form of disability sends a big message to the millions of travelers flying in and out each year. That message is, Kansas City takes inclusion seriously. It is an #inclusionrevolution and Variety KC and Kansas City are busting barriers at the most visible and desirable venues and locations in our community.

Meet the Kids – Gaige!

Gaige has been diagnosed with 22q11.2 deletion syndrome, polymicrogyria with right sided hemiplegia, cystic right kidney, VPI, CHD,
learning, speech and developmental delays. That’s a lot for such a young guy.

But then, Gaige has been through more in his short life than most people go through in a lifetime. He has had five surgeries so far and is scheduled for a complicated leg surgery in December. He has issues with stamina and needs his wheelchair to help with distances. Over the last few months, his ability to walk has greatly decreased and he is using his wheel chair on a daily basis. His previous wheelchair was a manual chair which he did not have the ability to control. Currently we have a loaner chair with right hand controls,
however, he tires easily and still needs to be pushed around. He is getting older and loves to be independent and not have someone push him around. Without the power assist, he will not be able to do this. Gaige brings joy to everyone he interacts with. He deals with his struggles, doctor appointments, surgeries, and hospitalization so well. I could not imagine life without him. I want him to have the best life with as much independence as he can.

A power wheelchair would allow Gaige to have a sense of independence, it would save his strength and allow him to more fully participate with family and friends. Most people don’t even know this is an option for wheelchair users, but it is very helpful to someone in Gaige’s situation.  They are less expensive than a power wheelchair, but still quite costly at $5,000.  Variety KC’s partners know the value of this equipment and helping to make this possible for Gaige!  You can help too, simply donate at www.varietykc.org/donate.  We appreciate you!