July 2, 2014 | 198 views
A tricycle just for Matthew
Like most kids, Matthew Vaccaro will spend a big part of his summer vacation cruising around on his bike. It’s a favorite summertime activity of children all across America, right along with watching fireworks and listening for the ice cream truck. But riding his own tricycle was anything but a sure thing for Matthew, a five-year-old from Island Park, until a charity organization called Share the Voice teamed up with Girl Scout Troop 1343 of Franklin Square to make it happen.
Matthew, who has Down syndrome and has arms and legs shorter than a typical child , did not have a tricycle that he could ride safely. His mother, Debra Vaccaro, heard from a friend about Share the Voice, an organization founded by Lynda Graham that had helped other families raise money for adaptive bikes. Vaccaro filled out some forms on the organization’s Facebook page in early April and then all but forgot about it. She was never notified that her application had been accepted, but on June 25 she got a call from Graham, who told her she needed some additional forms filled out and asked if she could drop by at 6 p.m.
Graham did not come alone. At 6 o’clock, Graham and Troop 1343 marched down Matthew’s street, chanting his name. They brought a blue Rifton tricycle with pedals and handlebars that Matthew could reach more easily. It had a MATTHEW nameplate adorned with a skull and crossbones, and a red, white and blue bow. In other words, it was a tricycle made just for Matthew.
“There were about 30 people walking down my block in parade fashion,” Vaccaro said. “That’s how they presented Matthew with the bicycle that they raised the money for. I felt like we won the Publisher’s Clearing House.”
Graham co-founded Share the Voice in April 2013 after seeing the therapeutic benefits of riding a tricycle had on her disabled son and other children.