Aventon, a Southern California-based e-bike company, donated five e-bikes, eight scooters, and $40,000 to CHOC’s autism center.
“We believe in this cause, in the program, and what they’re doing here for children with autism,” Aventon’s Chief Marketing Officer Adele Nasr told The Epoch Times.
Nasr’s son was recently diagnosed with autism, and she’s been taking her children to CHOC for several years.
“We really wanted to support what they’re doing because it is amazing to be able to help families that are going through this and have this added support and a network of doctors and amazing advocates for these children,” Nasr said.
The e-bikes are commuter and recreational vehicles. They can reach speeds of up to 28 miles per hour and have a range of more than 50 miles.
Last month, which was Autism Awareness Month, Aventon decided to donate a portion of its May proceeds to CHOC.
“We really want to continue … supporting causes that mean a lot to us as a company, but that also are doing good for the community,” Nasr said.
Dr. Tom Megerian, clinical director at the Thompson Autism Center at CHOC, said many patients with autism and other neurodevelopmental disabilities come from lower socio-economic backgrounds and don’t have access to higher technology equipment such as e-bikes.
Megerian said children with “autism do better when they get exercise.”
“It’s kind of therapeutic for them to be able to get out of the house, especially under COVID, and get more physical exercise,” Megerian told The Epoch Times.
He said that a large percentage of kids with autism tend to be more obese and have more limited diets—eating more high-fat foods—and they don’t get access to as many physical activities as typically developing children.
“Getting them out and on their bikes, physical exercise, is one way to improve that and also improve their connectedness with other kids,” Megerian said.
Yareli Lopez, a single mother of four, has one son with autism. She was among the recipients of the donations, receiving one e-bike and three scooters.
Lopez said she’s thankful for the donation and excited to spend more time outdoors with her son.
“I can’t afford to buy a bike,” Lopez told The Epoch Times. “I have to buy a second-hand [bicycle], and my daughter has to share the bike with my son. This will help my son and motivate him to get exercise and get all the support he needs.
“I hope they can help more families like me, and it’s never too late to give support to other people.”
Jina Jeng, the CHOC psychologist for Lopez’s autistic son, said the donation will be vital for the child’s health by increasing the time he spends outside.
“That physical activity is so important,” Jeng told The Epoch Times.
“Now that he has this amazing scooter and e-bike, that’s going to be huge for the family to just have family outings; and then it is also important for them to be engaged in physical activity and have some bonding time.”