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Club File

Tri-County Kiwanis help provide cars for kids with spina bifida

Kiwanis Club members (from left) George Van Dee, Kim Ekle, Kathy Martin, Lincoln Ekle and Becky Frinfrock pose with car recipient Isaac Garrett and Bonnie Garrett.
Kiwanis Club members (from left) George Van Dee, Kim Ekle, Kathy Martin, Lincoln Ekle and Becky Frinfrock pose with car recipient Isaac Garrett and Bonnie Garrett.

The Kiwanis Club of River Forest/Oak Park (RFOP) brought together several Kiwanis Clubs and Key Clubs – including the Tri-County Kiwanis Club of Sandwich – for the 2018 GoBabyGo project in collaboration with the Illinois Spina Bifida Association, Shirley Ryan Ability Labs of Northwestern University and Shriners Hospital for Children.

GoBabyGo is a national, community-based research, design and outreach program that provides modified ride-on cars to children who experience limited mobility.

Because of the Spastic Paralysis Research Foundation’s support of spina bifida research, the RFOP Kiwanis Club collaborated with the ISBA to identify children who would benefit.

The cars are specially adapted to accommodate the mobility needs of the child, with relocated go pedals and special emergency shutoff switches. Other harnesses and devices are added as needed.

At the end of the day, 12 toddlers were able to drive home in their new BMWs and show off to their friends. These cars are the first step for these toddlers toward learning how to work with assisted mobility equipment and developing a sense of being independent.

The Kiwanis Clubs also support Camp Independence, which teaches children with spina bifida ages 6 years and older how to take care of themselves and enjoy all the fun things other kids enjoy at a summer camp.

Learn more about Kiwanis by searching #kidsneedkiwanis or by visiting tricountykiwanis.com.

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