SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Last month 22News first told you about Bob Charland, a Springfield man with a terminal disease working to give back to the community by fixing up old bikes to give to kids in need.
Since then, donations have been pouring in – 500 bikes to be exact – and bike by bike, Bob Charland is making a difference in the world. He may only have a limited time left to live due to a degenerative brain disease, but he’s found a true purpose to live, through his work to bring children in need new bikes.
Bob told 22News, “I don’t wake up with the sense of urgency anymore. I wake up with the sense I’m going to do something positive today, I’m going to make a change in this world, and if this is the way I make my change, its great.”
This week he, along with some friends, loaded bikes into the back of pickup trucks and brought them to kids in need. This time, though, it was a little different, with each of the children receiving bikes having experienced homelessness at some point in their young lives, and for many of them this was their first bike.
One of the kids told 22News, “I finally got a bike that’s big enough for me. It has fire on it and it’s red, my favorite color.”
For teachers who work with these children every day, to see the children’s excitement as they picked out a new bike was a priceless moment.
Rebecca Chaverri of Holyoke Public Schools said, “It is priceless to see their smiles, nothing can compare to that.”
This was not Bob’s first bike drop-off, and he also said it won’t be his last, “At this point I’ve got a few more places to donate to. I’ve got the Worcester Boys and Girls club to donate to, I have Washington Street School in Springfield. I’m working with two other schools in Springfield to donate to. At this point, I’ve got two trailers full of finished bikes, and almost another 300 in the backyard ready to be worked on.”
Bob’s kind acts have caught the attention of people around the world, so much so that a film crew is making a documentary about his life.
Bob hopes that, even after he’s gone, he can inspire others to carry on where he left off, “Not to be afraid to do something good, to just make an effort really try. There too many kids out there that need help and this is such a simple way to do it.”
Related Bob Charland coverage:
- Terminally ill Springfield man recognized for work with hearing impaired students
- Terminally ill Springfield man donates 40 bikes to children in Holyoke
- Thieves steal bikes built for deserving kids
- Terminally ill man donates repaired bikes to Springfield students
- Terminally ill Springfield man seeking your help to fulfill his mission