MIDDLETOWN, Md. (WDVM) — Emily Hayek is a six-year-old in Middletown who always dreamed of riding a bike. Unfortunately, due to her disability, Spastic Diaplegic Cerebral Palsy, Emily was unable to interact like most kids do.

Emily has hypertonia (stiffness) that makes movement harder for her. Emily’s family say her muscle relaxer helps her to live more of a “normal” life, but she is still physically limited.

“We recently tried a regular bike at Walmart (Emily insisted!), and she wasn’t even able to keep her feet on the pedals (nor was she able to even make the pedals move). She is just starting to ask about why she can’t wear certain shoes and why she isn’t able to do things she sees other kids her age do. It’s heartbreaking. We would love to be able to go for family bike rides and watch our daughter be happy and not feel left out!”, said her mom, Sarah Hayek.

Emily had to miss out on a lot of physical actives, leaving her with a feeling of isolation,  but thanks to a referral from Frederick and Hagerstown`s Pediatric Movement Center, she was able to receive a custom adaptive bike, from Variety, the Children`s Charity of the National Capital Region.

The bike tailors to her needs and allows her to ride with other kids in her neighborhood and gain a sense of normalcy. 

“It’s especially exciting for us to be able to help Emily stay strong, happy and included with her community during this challenging time,” said Leigh Burke, executive director.

Residents can refer a child in need by contacting leigh@varietydc.org/www.varietydc.or.