A new nonprofit group, Rare Riders of Massachusetts, is seeking donations to help disabled children experience the joys and freedom of riding a bicycle.

The DeSousa family of East Freetown and the Greenspan family of Dartmouth came together because their children attend Meeting Street/Schwartz Center in Dartmouth.  Both children have rare genetic conditions.

Alissa DeSousa joined Townsquare Sunday this week to discuss the nonprofit and a desire to help others.

"In December of 2020, my son's physical therapist at Schwartz sent home a picture of Zane riding an adaptive bike. It was something we never thought he would do," DeSousa said. "In a 'proud mom' moment I posted the picture on Facebook, and I joked, 'I hope Santa has $4,200 so he can put a bike under the tree for Zane.'"

What happened next was Christmas miracle.

A friend started a GoFundMe page, and it was only a matter of hours before friends and family members had donated more than enough money to pay for the adaptive equipment.

The additional money was then used to help the Greenspan family pay for an adaptive bike for their son, Tanner.

Both the Greenspan and DeSousa families then decided to "pay it forward" and do something for other families whose children many need some help.

They formed Rare Riders of Massachusetts and are putting together a website to educate the public about their mission and collect donations. You can also follow the organization on its Facebook page.

"It's shocking how much this equipment costs," DeSousa said. "Anything that they call adaptive, they just jack up the prices. It seems like there is no checks and balances in the adaptive world."

For those who wish to donate now, you can do so through PayPal. Also, Rare Riders received a $5,000 donation from First Citizens Federal Credit Union through its "Gift of Giving" program. DeSousa said that will cover the cost of one bike, and the group is now looking for a family in need.

"Our ultimate goal is to provide a bike to any kid who needs one," she said.

Townsquare Sunday is a weekly community affairs program heard Sundays on WBSM.

If you would like your organization featured on Townsquare Sunday, please email the host at jim.phillips@townsquaremedia.com.

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