MORGANTOWN — West Virginia University will offer adapted mountain and trail bike access to people at no charge with new grant funding from the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation National Paralysis Resource Center.
The West Virginia Assistive Technology System at the WVU Center for Excellence in Disabilities created the “Adventure is for Everyone” project. The project will increase ways for individuals with spinal cord injuries and other mobility impairments to participate in outdoor sports by hand cycling.
“While standard cycles can be expensive, adapted cycles often cost more, making them too expensive for people to buy and likely not covered by insurance,” Doug Cumpston, WVATS principal investigator and program manager, said. “WVATS is partnering with Wamsley Cycles in Morgantown and the Challenged Athletes of West Virginia at Snowshoe Mountain Resort in Snowshoe, West Virginia, to house the new accessible bikes and make them available for people to borrow.”
By housing the bikes with places that offer traditional and adapted bikes in one location, friends and families can have an inclusive recreation experience. The equipment provided by the grant will increase opportunities for individuals to experience outdoor adventures without barriers, which also increases opportunities for inclusive activities for families and friends.
The grant received by the WVATS program is a part of the NPRC 2022 Priority Impact Quality of Life grants. Thirty-four grants totaling $1,029,908 were awarded. The Quality of Life Grants Program supports nonprofit organizations that empower individuals living with paralysis. Since the Quality of Life Grants Program’s inception, more than 3,600 grants totaling over $37 million have been awarded.
“The WVATS program with funding from the Reeve Foundation provides the unique opportunity to enhance recreational assistive technology that can be offered at the WVU Center for Excellence in Disabilities,” Lesley Cottrell, director of the WVU Center for Excellence in Disabilities, said. “The focus on recreational assistive technology is crucial to a state such as West Virginia where families enjoy the outside and get involved in their communities. We are thankful for this opportunity to enhance the lives of West Virginians.”
The WVATS program is West Virginia’s designated lead agency for assistive technology. WVATS works closely with disability agencies and organizations around the state to increase the independence and quality of life of individuals with disabilities through the use of assistive devices that make tasks easier. The program offers device demonstration and short-term loans allowing people to try out a device to see if it meets their needs or help in the event of a short-term disability such as a broken bone or recovering from surgery.
The Reeve Foundation grant is awarded through the WVU Foundation, the nonprofit organization that receives and administers private donations on behalf of the University.