The Lions Step In
Lions in Australia recognized that many children with mobility-impairing diseases miss out on many parts of development. Not only do they lose the physical sensation of walking, but many children miss the social opportunities other children gain by playing with classmates, riding bikes with their friends and taking walks with their siblings. Through Lions’ fundraising efforts and diligent partnerships, the Lions of Australia are providing innovative technology to children in need. The devices, called Hart Walkers and Freedom Wheels, allow children who lack mobility the opportunity to walk and ride a bike.
“With the Australian Lions Children’s Mobility Foundation, what we do is we try to provide an overall mobility system for kids with cerebral palsy,” said Elvio Munzone, the District Governor of the Sydney Lions. “Lions from all over Sydney provide the funds to provide these walkers so these children have freedom and they can walk with pride.”
Hard Work Pays Off
Children throughout Australia now have a chance to savor their mobility.
“The Lions club has helped my son who has spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy to be an active participant in day to day life in that he’s able to up and run around with his peers,” said mom Cindy Shaw. “When Adam’s in his Hart Walker, he feels very strong and that he can do anything.”
But the children aren’t the only ones who benefit from this ambitious project. Second Vice District Governor Elect Steve Coleman said each child who receives these specialized devices is a powerful reminder of the We Serve motto. “It brings such great rewards for me to show photos of the boys on the bikes to the other Lions so they can see the difference they have made,” Coleman said.
The Hart Walker that allows disabled children to walk upright is composed of more than 1,000 moving parts. During a five-year period, each Hart Walker device costs about $12,000 in Australian currency. Each Freedom Wheels bike is customized to the child’s size and abilities.