Small World Connection

Clare Stober | September 2014

A girl smiles and claps her hands on a Rifton trike from Variety the Children's CharityMalcolm Gladwell writes about the six degrees of separation connecting any two people in the world. But in my experience it only takes one special needs child to connect hearts. 

Attending a high-tech symposium last week was a new experience for me. My trade show experience has been limited to demonstrating Rifton items at DME shows or conventions attended by therapists. This time I was in the audience. And what’s more, the event was held at the chic Aria Casino in Las Vegas, the last place I’d expect to find the kind of connection I’m talking about.

Early in the symposium I found myself sitting next to a stranger. We were listening to a marketer from Big Pharma tell how he was using the web to reach patients and improve outcomes. After the presentation my neighbor introduced himself. He was Jerry from Pittsburgh, and asked what my company did and I mentioned we manufactured therapy equipment for people with disabilities. His eyes filled and he said, “I have a special needs child,” and we were immediately on a new level of understanding. Once he learned I was from Rifton the connection was complete. “Our daughter has one of your products,” he continued, amazed. He started going through the photos on his smartphone and quickly came up with this photo of his daughter Aubrey, on her Rifton trike

The degrees of separation faded away completely as he told me she was the very first recipient of a trike from the My Bike Program sponsored by Variety the Children’s Charity in Pittsburgh. Just happened that the day before I left for Vegas we’d put the final touches on a photo essay about the My Bike Program to appear in our catalog. Since Aubrey received her trike in 2012 we’ve provided over 500 trikes to children in the greater Pittsburgh area, all through a wonderful partnership between Variety, Rifton, and the regional DME provider called Blackburns

They always say what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, but I disagree. This is one story that needs to be told.

Do you have any small world special needs stories to share? 

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