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Local 5 - weareiowa.com | Des Moines Local News & Weather | Des Moines, Iowa

Young Charlie is showing off overwhelming success of the Variety Mobility Program

Despite the pandemic, and because of community support, Variety gave out a record number of specialized mobility devices last year

IOWA, USA — Meet Charlie. He has been a fighter his entire life. At 9 months old he was borderline failure to thrive and diagnosed with a variant of uncertain significance, which is a genetic abnormality that currently has no funding. 

Credit: Nancy Baker Curtis
Charlie was diagnosed with a variant of uncertain significance

Being a growing young boy, Charlie's body didn't have a chance to gain normal strength or mobility. It was because of an incredible relationship with Charlie's physical therapist at ChildServe that a connection was made with the Variety Mobility Program.  

"We figured out together what's important and how we are going to get there together," states ChildServe Pysical Therapist, Abbi Smith. 

Variety was able to get Charlie fitted for a specialized tandem bike and his very own gait trainer. Soon he was able to be just like any other kid. 

Credit: Nancy Baker Curtis
Charlie's specialized tandem bike provided through the Variety Mobility Program

This changed Charlie's life but also allowed his family to realize the smallest goals were now becoming attainable. Taking a simple stroll, with the entire family around the neighborhood, was now a reality. 

"There are so many more possibilities for Charlie and none of those would have happened if it hadn't been for our partnership with Variety and of course Childserve," states Charlie's mom, Nancy. 

But these specialized mobility devices are very expensive and not covered by insurance. So families, like Charlie's, rely on organizations like Variety.  

"These pieces of mobility equipment are not usually covered by insurance so they are luxury type items that are making huge differences not only for the child but for the family as well," explains Variety Executive Director, Sheri McMichael.

Because of donations and community support the Variety Mobility Program has been providing specialized equipment to families for over 10 years. Variety plans to continue on stronger than ever, so children like Charlie can just be kids.

"Variety has not just increased our access to the community, they've increased Charlie's access to the world. It's given him the opportunity to go out and live his best life," gushes Charlie's mom Nancy. 

If you would like to help kids like Charlie, we invite you to learn more about Variety the Children's Charity at varietyiowa.com.