Springfield man dedicated to helping kids until the end
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. - A Springfield man has dedicated himself to helping local kids and isn't quitting, despite a life-changing diagnosis.
Bob Charland has been working on the project since about 2012. He collects and fixing bikes for children, with the goal of getting kids to put down their phones, get off the couch and explore the outdoors.
"It gives me a real sense of purpose. I believe its 68 bikes that I've donated out over the past couple of years, coming from Connecticut, Rhode island, New York," he said.
Bob says he wakes up at 4:30 a.m. and works all day, sometimes until 11 p.m., repairing the bikes. He donates them to kids through Springfield Public Schools and local churches, making sure that kids in low-income households have the opportunity to ride.
Two months ago, his routine came to a halt; Bob was diagnosed with a neurodegenerative brain disease.
"At that moment I was almost to the point I was just going to give up, but there were people still calling for bikes," he said.
And that kept him going, knowing that some children wouldn't get a bike without his help.
"The feeling I get after I get done with a bike and give it to a kid or I get a note back, it's well worth the time. I'm going to keep doing this as long as I physically can yes," he said.