Saturday, February 27, 2010

Maryland students send bikes to disabled children in Ghana

From WJZ-TV:

BALTIMORE ― For some disabled children, a bicycle can mean a new life. Students at one Baltimore County school plan to give the gift of two wheels to disabled people in Ghana. It's a class project inspired by one athlete's story.

This is Emmanuel Yeboah's second visit to McDonogh School in Owings Mills. The first time was back in October, when he shared his story as a disabled person living in his native Ghana.

"It's considered to be a punishment from a deity and when he was a kid, his father abandoned him because he was disabled," said Kyle Rice.

And other family members told Yeboah's mother to kill him.

His right leg is severely deformed, but his mother wanted Yeboah to go to school. She carried him until he was 12 years old.

"She said, `Emmanuel, you are heavy,'" Yeboah said.

So he hopped, until the three-mile trek became too much.

Shortly after, Yeboah decided to apply for a bicycle from an athletic foundation in California. When the bike arrived, it meant freedom.

"It's changed my life totally, 100%," he said.

So Yeboah pedaled 400 miles across Ghana, raising awareness for the disabled.

He has a prosthesis now, but Yeboah's story impressed four McDonogh students.

Brendan Fowl, Danny Bredar, Kyle Rice and Ben Love decided to ask other students to donate bikes. The teens will personally deliver them to disabled children in Ghana.

"I think we're going to discover that the kids there are going to change our lives more than we could have ever imagined," Fowl said.

So far, they've filled a trailer with more than 200 bicycles. They will be accepting bikes for another two weeks.