SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Bob Charland of Springfield is a man on a mission. After being diagnosed with a terminal illness, he decided he wanted to spend his last months giving back to kids in need in the City of Springfield.
The 44-year-old is using his time and his talents to make sure kids can ride bikes, even if their parents can’t afford to buy one for them. He said the goal is to inspire kids to put down their phones, get off the couch and spend some time outdoors being active. 22News sat down with Charland, who explained why he’s being so generous:
It gives me a real sense of purpose. I believe its 68 bikes that I’ve donated out over the past couple of years, coming from Rhode Island, Connecticut, and New York. It’s spread like crazy. I get up around 4:00, 4:30 in the morning. From then, even until 11 o’clock at night, I’m here repairing the bikes.
Two months ago I was diagnosed with a neurodegenerative brain disease and it kind of completely rocked my world and my family’s world. At that moment, I was almost going to give up, but there were people still calling for bikes.
It’s easy for me to get them out in the community. Whoever wants it, that’s in a low income situation, they can take them. The feeling I get after I get done with a bike and give it to kid, or I get a note back, it’s well worth the time. I’m going to keep doing this as long as I physically can.
If you have an old bike you’d like to donate you can drop it off at Lyndale Garage at 87 Warehouse Street in Springfield. Click Here to learn more about Charland’s “Pedal Thru Youth Startup” gofundme page, and if you’d like to donate funds to help Bob purchase necessary parts for repairs.