Terminally ill Springfield man helps local children in need

He spends his free time fixing up old bikes to give to children who don't have one

CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – Two months ago, Springfield resident Bob Charland was given a terminal diagnosis. He has a neuro-degenerative brain disease. Instead of letting that diagnosis define him, he’s spending whatever time he has left helping others.

This Easter Sunday was no different. He made more than a dozen kids’ needs his priority.

Charland told 22News, “It’s Easter morning and I know there’s a lot of kids that don’t have bikes, and I figured this is a way to make them happy on a holiday.”

He dropped off more than a dozen bikes to a Chicopee neighborhood in need. He spends his free time fixing up old bikes to give to children who don’t have one.


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Bike recipient Hannah told 22News, “It’s awesome. I was almost going to cry because we got these new bikes, because our bikes got stolen from here.”

Charland chose this Chicopee neighborhood with the help of his friend, Anouson Souvannasane, who works for the Chicopee Police Department and patrols this neighborhood regularly.

Souvannasane told 22News, “I’ve been working in this area for years now, it’s the first area that came to mind. We need more people to step up, he’s setting the bar for those who aren’t sick to do something for the kids.”

Charland has made it clear that, for as long as he can, he will continue his work to improve children’s lives through bikes. He concluded, “Why not? If it’s just my time, why not do it? It’s making these kids happy, it’s promoting something positive in their life, so I’m going to keep doing it.”