Terminally ill Springfield man works daily to help kids in need

Charland was recently diagnosed with a degenerative brain disease

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – You may remember Bob Charland. He’s the man who has been working day and night to fix up bikes for kids in need.

“Dying is nothing,” Charland said. “I can get up everyday and still do my job.”

Charland was recently diagnosed with a degenerative brain disease.

Terminally ill man donates repaired bikes to Springfield students

“I sleep about three hours a night,” Charland said ” And I never wake up with a bad hair day, so that makes it even better.”

Bob has an amazing spirit, and despite a dire diagnosis, he’s using whatever time he has left to fix up bikes and donate them to as many kids as he can.

“Just because these kids may live in poverty, doesn’t mean that they need to feel that way,” Charland said. “Self-esteem has got to start somewhere, and if it starts on two wheels, why not?”

Bob has given so much to the community, and now the community is giving back to him.

Workers from the Competitive Edge bike shop and Endangered Species Jeep went to the Lyndale Garage in Springfield Thursday night to help Bob get the hundreds of bikes you’ve donated, “kid ready.”

It’s a lot of work.

“We don’t send out a bike that’s got scratches on it,” Charland said.

It’s the smiles and the thank you’s that makes all the work worth it.

Bob has received hundreds of cards, and some cards of encouragement have even come from as far as Australia. Fox News Network and PBS both saw 22News stories about Bob and came out to Springfield to help share his mission.

“I think I’m sending a message out there to more people that they can do better,” Charland said. “I’m one man, I’m just one guy. But if one man can make a change in the world, imagine if so many people at least tried.”

Speaking of what just one man can do, Bob was a single dad who became a girl scout troop leader, coached girls’ softball, and still manages to teach automotive for the Willy Ross School for the deaf.

Charland said he’s currently getting 30 bikes ready to donate to students in Holyoke at the end of the month, and also has plans to make a donation to a Springfield school before summer vacation begins.

If you want to get in touch with Bob or want to donate to his cause, you can find him on Facebook.