of Movement for Children with Disabilities
Kevin Gutoski, the owner of the Deacon’s Corner Petro Canada, gives back to the community in many ways. But, perhaps the most poignant of these is the presentation of a customized bicycle to a much deserving child with physical disabilities.
The donation is made in coordination with the Manitoba Children’s Rehabilitation Foundation and Freedom Concepts at their annual car show put on by the Manitoba Street Rod Association.
The car show, held on the second weekend of July every year, is a huge draw. Members of the Manitoba Street Rod Association organize the event. Monique Parent, manager of the site’s A&W restaurant, says 80 to 100 cars come out for the event, but the highlight is the bicycle presentation.
For the last three years, these bicycles have added joy to the lives of children growing up with disabilities that limit their freedom to move. “The cost of these customized bikes can be considerably high, $5,000-$6,000. That is out of reach for most families. We help by raising the money to provide a bicycle for a child in Manitoba,” says Gutoski. Money is raised throughout the year through donations, purchase round-ups and donation mugs located in-store.
The bikes are built by Manitoba-based Freedom Concepts. The company has been designing mobility devices for over 20 years. They work with medical professionals and families to customize a bike that accommodates each child’s specific disability. Gutoski acts as an intermediate between the family and Freedom Concepts, ensuring the bicycle is perfect and ready to present to the family at the car show.
This year’s recipient was a young boy named Joel, who was unable to communicate verbally due to a tracheal tube and unable to walk. “Joel is a bright happy little boy whose greatest joy is found by being outside. He loves riding his bike around the block and his beautiful smile shows that. He becomes calm and peaceful and there is a sense of pride as he rides. We are incredibly grateful and humbled that Kevin has made this possible for Joel,” says his mom Dana.