Tag Archives: Bella’s Bumbas

Santa’s visit to Bella’s Bumbas workshop: a follow-up

26 Nov

You may remember a few weeks ago reading a blog about how Santa himself visited the Bella’s Bumbas workshop here in Webster to help build a Bumba for one very lucky child in Connecticut.

During his visit, Santa was assisted by several young elves, who showed him how to craft one of Bella’s Bumbas’ miniature wheelchairs from the wheels up.

I’m happy to report that the special Santa-built Bumba has been received by Tate, the young man for whom it was being built. Check out the photo below; it’s easy to see how delighted Tate is with his newfound mobility. What you can’t see is how Santa and all his elves signed it underneath the seat.

Click here to read the blog I wrote about Santa’s visit to the workshop.

While Santa was there, he also signed another Bumba, specially built for young Josué in Mexico. Josué has also received his autographed Bumba.

Bella’s Bumbas is run by Webster residents Marty Parzynski and Rebecca Orr, dedicated to building miniature wheelchairs for children with a wide variety of mobility issues. In the four years since Marty built the first Bumba for their niece Bella, they’ve shipped close to 2000 chairs to children in more than 50 countries, often adapting the chairs for each child’s individual needs, and charging the parents only for shipping.

Their efforts are changing young lives all over the world.

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From Bella’s Bumbas: a visit from Santa and a heartfelt thank-you

8 Nov

Santa Claus made a very special pre-holiday visit to town Saturday, bringing his North Pole workshop skills to the Bella’s Bumbas workshop in Webster. But rather than working on toys, he tried his hand at cobbling together his very own Bumba chair.

Ably assisted by elves Teagan Orr, Kenzie Fedele and Bella Shorr herself — whose story launched Bella’s Bumbas — Santa learned how to build a chair from the wheels up.

Bella’s Bumbas is run by Webster residents Marty Parzynski and Rebecca Orr, dedicated to building miniature wheelchairs for children with a wide variety of mobility issues. In the four years since Marty built the first Bumba for their niece Bella, they’ve shipped close to 2000 chairs to children in more than 50 countries, often adapting the chairs for each child’s individual needs, and charging the parents only for shipping.

Marty and Rebecca arranged for the special visit from Santa, originally inviting six of their “Bumbaleers” to attend. At the last minute, several of them couldn’t make it, but Kenzie and Bella’s delight alone at seeing the jolly old elf was enough to fill the room. They got their own elf hats, and were treated to a reading of the Christmas classic The Night Before Christmas, courtesy Santa himself.

The special Santa-built chair — which was signed by everyone that day — will soon be packed up and sent to a very lucky little boy named Tate in Connecticut.

Here are some more photos from that special afternoon when Bella’s Bumbas’ workshop became Santa’s workshop.

A heartfelt Bella’s Bumbas thank you

Bella’s Bumbas, by the way, relies entirely on donations to do their amazing work.

They recently received a huge one from a combined team of construction workers who are building the new Amazon warehouse in Gates.

When Rebecca and Marty were invited to stop by the work site on Friday Sept. 24, they had no idea why. When they got there, they were directed to a huge parking lot where row after row of tables were set up. Before long, they found themselves front-and-center in a short ceremony in which they were presented a huge check for $13,600.

Turns out, the construction team had been collecting donations and holding raffles for several weeks to raise money for Bella’s Bumbas. The tables were set up for a thank-you BBQ luncheon for everyone who donated. It was just the beginning of a continuing stream of donations from the team which eventually added up to $15,000.

Rebecca explained,

Bella’s Bumbas, Ltd. was given an AMAZING donation from a combined group of construction workers building the new Amazon warehouse in Gates, a total of $15,000. Project ROC1 Team did raffles, a BBQ, and donations to bless Bella’s Bumbas. From that we have received several “residual” donations, thanks to S.M.A.R.T. local Union 46 and all their support. S.M.A.R.T. local Union 46, not only helps make parts for our little chairs, they also share our “mission of mobility.” That same morning (which coincidentally was also the third anniversary of our moving into our current shop location) we also received an amazing $3000 from Webster Presbyterian Church.

The donations Bella’s Bumbas received from the Project ROC1 Team and in the following days allowed them to ship about 55 Bumbas around the world, absolutely free, including to the Upstate Golisano’s Children’s Hospital in Syracuse, the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Haiti, Honduras, Canada, Belize, Turkey and Guatemala.

“Today we are truly THANKING God first and all our amazing supporters over the last four years,” Rebecca wrote.

We have been blessed beyond our wildest dreams. It has been a rewarding, blessed, chaotic, hectic, and WONDERFUL 4 years (and many more to come). We have received the most precious donations from $5 to $10 monthly thru auto payments, to $15,000 from fundraisers groups have done for us. From organizations locally to individuals we have never met.

Donations are not the only way Bella’s Bumbas operates. Our amazing volunteers, some local, some as far away as other countries, each doing their own special part of our “Mission of Mobility.” We are often baffled as to how to truly express our thanks and gratitude to so many people for the almost 2000 “bumbaleers” (named by an amazing grandmother, Ann Reid ) in now 53 countries.

We know each one of our very special bumbaleers has touched so many lives with their smiles,and laughs, and true little miracles.

“Bella’s Bumbas ‘Mission of Mobility’ all started for one little girl, our Bella, born with Spina Bifida, and is now also a BLESSED network of families encouraged and uplifted by each other,” Rebecca concluded. “Thank you seems so small compared to what Bella’s Bumbas has become with so many blessings.”

“THANK YOU from all of us here at Bella’s Bumbas and our little bumbaleers.”

Check out these photos and video of some of those happy little bumbaleers:

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News from the library

1 Sep

This month’s Webster Public Library Artist’s Wall features some good friends of mine and the incredible, life-changing nonprofit they have built from scratch, Bella’s Bumbas.

Marty Parzynski and Rebecca Orr began their business back in 2017. Their neice Bella had been born in 2015 with spina bifida, which caused paralysis of her lower limbs. Troubled by Bella’s inability to move around and interact with other children, they did a little research and found how to make a toddler-sized wheelchair using a commercially-available “Bumbo” infant seat and a child’s bicycle tires. Marty got to work, and before long had built one for his niece. He called it “Bella’s Bumba.”

When word started spreading about what Marty had done and how it had changed Bella’s life, he and Rebecca started getting requests for Bella’s Bumbas from other parents. So they set up a workshop in the garage and started to mass-produce the wheelchairs, using mostly donated parts. They asked families only to cover the shipping costs.

To date, Marty and Rebecca and their army of volunteers have built and shipped more than 2000 chairs to 46 countries, and counting.

Next time you’re at the library, stop by the wall, read more about their story, and check out the photos of some of the thousands of children whose lives have been changed by Bella’s Bumbas.

The display will be up through September.


Kindergartners and first graders and their favorite adults are invited to celebrate the end of summer with a Back-to-School Storytime on Thursday Sept. 2 at 11 a.m.

Listen to some special books and do a school-related craft to get into the school spirit! Please register each child individually so the library can keep the number small. Caregivers should not register but are required to attend with their children. Please remember your masks!

Speaking of storytimes … as long as the weather is being so nice, outdoor storytimes are continuing.

Every Thursday at 10 a.m. through October, storytimes will be held at the Harmony Park amphitheater, 10 Foster Drive (off of Phillips Rd.). PLUS, Tuesday evenings in September are family fun nights. Bring the whole family on Sept. 14, 21 and 28 from 5 to 7 p.m. for music and games with Webster Parks & Recreation, with storytime at 6 p.m. On the 14th, Bay Vista Taqueria food truck will be there, too.

Registration is not necessary but requested for the outdoor storytimes so they have an idea how many to expect. Click here to register for Sept. 14 and visit the Webster Library website to register for the others.


Now that the kids are back in school, how ’bout we adults take some time for ourselves? Check out these adult programs coming up at the library in September:

  • Sept. 14, 2 p.m.: Travelogue- Beautiful Medieval Towns of Brittany and Normandy, France
  • Sept. 15, 7 p.m.: Creating Paper Flowers with Linda & Katrina
  • Sept. 28, 1 p.m.: Legal Assistance for Seniors
  • Sept. 30, 3 p.m.: Libby Tips & Tricks via Zoom

Descriptions and registration links for these programs and more can be found on the library website.


Here’s a teaser about a couple of other fun youth programs in the works:

  • Make it Monday, Sept. 13: Pom Pom Cacti Night
  • Family Friday Campout, Friday Oct. 1

Visit the library website for more information and to register


Finally, the library is updating its hours for fall.

Beginning Tuesday, September 7 the library will be open Monday through Thursday 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday and
Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The Webster Public Library is located at 980 Ridge Rd., at the back of Webster Plaza.

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Do you know anyone in these photos?

31 Aug

I know, that really sounds like clickbait, doesn’t it? But I really am trying to find some good homes for these photos which were part of my Webster on the Web photo exhibit at the Webster Public Library in August.

I chose 24 photos for the exhibit, representing kids, community and events. It was fun having them up, but alas, a few days ago they had to be taken down to make room for September’s installation, featuring the awesome Webster-based nonprofot, Bella’s Bumbas (more on that in another blog).

(P.S., if you didn’t get to visit the library and see it, I’ve posted all the photos on a link you’ll find at the right side of this page.)

So now I have all these photos, most of them 8″ x 8″ or 10″ x 10″, which are going to get tossed if no one wants them. I’ve already delivered a handful of them to some proud parents and grandparents, but there are many more really cute ones that have gone unclaimed.

So, please take a moment and take a close look at all of the following photos and see if you can help me give them good homes. There are even a few which have no human subjects in them, but if you like ’em, they’re yours. If knowing the dates will help identify the children, you’ll find them in the photo link to the right.

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The photos are coming down

28 Aug

It’s been an eventful August.

Not only did I get a proclamation from the Town for outstanding community service (and had a day named after me!), I was honored to be the featured artist on the Webster Public Library’s Artist’s Wall for the entire month.

Well, today, those photos are coming down, and being replaced with photos highlighting the work of Bella’s Bumbas, an amazing Webster grassroots organization. (Click here to read more about them.)

Have no fear, however! If you didn’t have a chance to see my photos at the library, all is not lost. I’ve posted them all, complete with captions, to this blog page. You’ll find the link in two places: at the very top of this page, and in the gutter on the right. (Or you can click here.)

So, if you haven’t seen them yet, enjoy! If you DID stop by the library, here’s your chance as well to see all the photos again.

And, by the way, if you have a personal connection to any one of them and would like to have it for yourself, drop me an email.

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email me  at missyblog@gmail.com“Like” this blog on Facebook and follow me on Twitter and Instagram.

You can also get email notifications every time I post a new blog by using the “Follow Me” link on the right side of this page.

Happy Bella’s Bumbas news and library stuff

29 Jul

Back in June, I posted a blog about how the Webster-based dance studio Dancing With Denise raised money and made a very generous donation to Bella’s Bumbas, a nonprofit grassroots organization which builds pint-sized “Bumba” wheelchairs for children with mobility issues.

The money was earmarked for a particular project Bella’s Bumbas was working on: building and shipping eight of the miniature wheelchairs to Algeria.

I found out several days ago that those chairs were shipped, have been received, and the children are already enjoying the Bella’s Bumba benefits of mobility, greater self-confidence and independence. (Check out those smiling faces in the photos below, sent from Algeria!)

Bella’s Bumbas is run by Webster residents Marty Parzynski and Rebecca Orr, dedicated to building miniature wheelchairs for children with a wide variety of mobility issues. In the four years since Marty built the first Bumba for their niece Bella, they’ve shipped close to 2000 chairs to children in 46 countries (including ALGERIA), often adapting the chairs for each child’s individual needs, and charging the parents only for shipping.

Rebecca and Marty could barely contain their excitement on Facebook, where they wrote:

Well, it was a bit of a learning curve and journey but all the chairs made it to ALGERIA and the 8 children.

We owe an amazing amount of thank you’s to Dancing With Denise for a majority of the funds, Aziz Anas Ziad that assisted the families in Algeria with sending in their request papers, Samir the gentleman who received and distributed the chairs (and put on an amazing little party complete with gifts and hats for the children), Mohamed who connected us to Samir, and the amazing Association El Kawther who also assisted Samir to recieve the chairs from customs … INDEED it has taken so much compassion and cooperation for this adventure.

The excitement in Algeria could also be felt across the miles, summed up in comments like this one: “Thank you so much for this. Those children really need to be happy and independent persons. Biiiig thanks from Algeria.”

Rebecca and Marty have earned the right to step back and rest a bit after this huge project. But I’m sure they’ve already ramped up production again, and will almost certainly notch a few more countries before the end of the year.

Read more about the Bella’s Bumbas mission and how you can help on their Facebook page and their website.


Lots of things happening at the Webster Public Library these days, and I’ve been remiss in letting you know about them. So here you go:

  • Project Homeless Connect Rochester is holding its annual coat drive event on September 15th at the Public Market in downtown Rochester, and the library is helping with the collection. Community members are encouraged to donate clean, new coats in the library collection box right now (don’t wait until September!) Donations can be dropped off any time that the library is open, Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 6 pm and Saturday 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • Can’t make the morning live storytimes at the Harmony Park gazebo? The library has recently added some Wednesday evening storytimes on Aug. 4 and 18, beginning at 6:30 p.m. The park is located on Foster Drive off of Phillips Rd. No registration is required.
  • As part of the Tales & Tails Summer Reading theme, the library is partnering with Operation Freedom Ride by collecting donations for underfunded rescues and shelters through August. Their mission is to rescue homeless dogs and cats and find them adopters in NY. Donations will be collected through August. Each donation will earn a kernel of food in our dog dish on the bulletin board outside the Children’s Room. Watch it grow!

See a complete list of requested items on the Webster Public Library Facebook page.

All these items just scratch the surface of what’s going on down there at the library. Check out their beautiful, brand new website for details about these and dozens of other special things that happen there every month. The library is located at the back of Webster Plaza, 980 Ridge Rd.

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email me  at missyblog@gmail.com“Like” this blog on Facebook and follow me on Twitter and Instagram.

You can also get email notifications every time I post a new blog by using the “Follow Me” link on the right side of this page.

Kindness, delivered

18 Jun

Two examples this morning about how Webster kindness spreads throughout our community — and our world.

Yesterday, Schlegel Rd. Elementary School students received a special delivery from the Webster Thomas CARE Club: 228 brightly decorated, laminated bookmarks. Schlegel librarian Jamie Palmer will distribute the bookmarks to students at the beginning of next school year.

Some of the 228 bookmarks created by the Webster Thomas CARE Club

The hand-colored bookmarks were delivered to Schlegel by CARE Club representatives Ayah Silmi and Delaney McDonald, accompanied by club advisors Craig Johnville and Denise Warren. Delaney, a junior, is the club’s co-president and Ayah, a sophomore, is club secretary.

The Webster Thomas CARE Club is a group of about 15 Thomas students dedicated to spreading kindness and making our community better through community service projects. They do two or three projects a year, especially focusing on helping out those schools whose students feed into Thomas.

Other recent club projects have included assembling paint kits and Virtual Bingo supplies for Klem North Elementary, and making cards of encouragement for students at Willink Middle School. Check out the club’s Twitter page to learn more about the great things the Webster Thomas CARE Club is accomplishing.


Thanks to a donation from Dancing With Denise students and families, several mini-wheelchairs are on their way to Algeria (yes, that’s Africa), courtesy Webster-based Bella’s Bumbas.

The students presented the donation — more than $1,000 — to Bella’s Bumbas owners Rebecca Orr and Marty Parzynski at the school’s annual recital held on June 5. The donation covered the cost of building several of the pint-sized Bumbas wheelchairs to benefit children with mobility issues.

And now that kindness is touching young lives in Algeria.

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You can also get email notifications every time I post a new blog by using the “Follow Me” link on the right side of this page.

Racing ducks and returning bottles: busy weekend in store

2 Jun

Lots of fun stuff happening this weekend I want to tell you about this morning.

The first is a brand-new fundraiser for the Webster Comfort Care Home (WCCH).

It’s the First Annual WCCH Duck Derby, this Saturday June 5 at the Beeches Pavilion at Webster Park. Volunteers will conduct a race of rubber ducks down Mill Creek. Participants can purchase ducks for $5 each, then cheer them on as they ride the “rapids.” Cash prizes will be awarded for first, second and third place ducks. Ducks can be purchased online at www.webstercomfortcare.org.

This is a family-friendly event for children and adults of all ages. Child-friendly activities and refreshments will be available while ducks are racing.

The fun begins at 10 a.m. For more details, and to read more about this terrific organization, visit the Webster Comfort Care Home Facebook page.

By the way, put this one on your calendar, too: the WCCH “Lift Your Spirits” Wine and Beer Tasting Event is BACK this year, on Friday October 22 at ArtisanWorks.

Webster Marching Band Bottle and Can Drive

Don’t forget about this weekend’s bottle and can drive on Saturday to benefit the Webster Marching Band. This will be a drop-off drive only. Just pack up your returnables and swing by Willink Middle School on Publisher’s Parkway between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. to drop them off. There will be plenty of worker-bees there to help you, so you won’t even have to get out of the car.

If can’t make it to Willink on Saturday, they’ll come to you. Simply call the Bottle and Can Hotline, 24/7 at 234-8684 (option 1), leave a message and they’ll call you back for details. You can also drop off returns at any time to area bottle return companies (Can Kings, Nickleback, Upstate Bottle Return) and just tell them to credit the Webster Marching Band for the return.

Dancing for a Cause

A big shout-out to Denise Baller and Dancing With Denise for not only shining a spotlight on her dancers during her school’s upcoming recital, but also on a terrific local organization, Bella’s Bumbas.

At the studio’s backyard dance recital this Saturday, Denise and her students’ families will present Bella’s Bumbas with a donation to cover the cost of building several pint-sized Bella’s Bumbas wheelchairs for children with mobility issues.

On the Dancing With Denise Facebook page, Denise writes, “It’s a wonderful, teachable moment to show my students how spreading compassion and love can make little ones who aren’t as mobile ‘feel better when they are dancing’!”

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Happy Bella’s Day!

21 May
Supervisor Tom Flaherty reads the proclamation as Marty Psrzynski and Rebecca Orr watch — and Bella poses.

You have seen me sing the praises of Bella’s Bumbas for several years now.

This amazing grass-roots organization was begun in March 2017 by Webster residents Rebecca Orr and Marty Parzynski. Its simple purpose: to build miniature wheelchairs for children with a wide variety of mobility issues. To date they’ve shipped almost 2000 chairs to children in at least 45 countries, charging the families only for shipping.

Last night, Bella’s Bumbas got some well-deserved recognition, when Marty and Rebecca were presented with a proclamation by the Webster Town Board recognizing their selflessness and the service they provide for children everywhere.

The Proclamation for Outstanding Community Service (which is pictured below) briefly describes (in proclamation-speak) the history of Bella’s Bumbas beginning with the first chair Marty built in 2017 for his niece Bella. You can read the whole story in this week’s Webster Town Newsletter.

But you may notice that the proclamation ends on a very high note, declaring today — Friday May 21 — “Bella’s Day” in the Town of Webster. I suggest everyone try to celebrate the day and honor this great organzation by taking a moment to read more about them, and perhaps then dropping some cash in their GoFundMe account.

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An update on Bella’s Bumbas

20 Feb
A peek inside the Bella’s Bumbas workshop, where new chairs await shipping.

It’s been a while since we last visited Bella’s Bumbas. This is the incredible Webster-based grassroots organization which for almost four years has been improving the lives of children with mobility issues, not just here in town, but all over the globe. But rest assured, they’re still going strong and recently received some national attention.

Bella’s Bumbas is a non-profit organization run by Webster residents Marty Parzynski and Rebecca Orr, dedicated to building miniature wheelchairs for children with a wide variety of mobility issues. To date they’ve shipped more than 1600 chairs to children in 30 countries, recently adding Bangkok, Thailand, and Kuwait to the list, and they often adapt the chairs for each child’s individual needs.

As with most businesses, COVID has presented some challenges to their operation. But the pandemic hasn’t erased the need for these special chairs, so Rebecca and Marty remain dedicated to their cause, and continue to expand their services as much and as often as they can. All while being part-time caregivers for five of their grandchildren who are only attending school half-days.

I received this update from Rebecca the other day:

What a crazy year it has been thru Covid. We miss those of our volunteers that are social distancing for safety, and look forward to the whole team being together again. We’ve had some of our volunteers (Tom, Ron and George) rotate times and days to keep “bodies” at a minimum in the shop.

We’ve been shipping a few chairs directly to other countries (at great expense but worth the SMILES ) … we’ve been very blessed with the donations still coming in, and new contacts. We are well over 1600 chairs and have some amazing new businesses helping us in various ways making some of our specialized parts.

They’ve also recently partnered with Indiana-based Hearts in Motion, who will be helping them deliver several chairs to Guatemala.

Also, in a very exciting recent development, Bella’s Bumbas has been prominently featured in an article published this month in Brain and Life magazine, an official publication of the American Academy of Neurology. The article addresses how mobility devices, like the Bumba chairs, can benefit children’s brain health.

This is not news for anyone who’s taken the time to view the videos of smiling, mobile children on Bella’s Bumbas Facebook page. But it’s nice to see that confirmed by such as well-respected national publication.

How you can help

Bella’s Bumbas continues to ask parents to pay for shipping, but that’s difficult for some families these days. Plus. shipping internationally is very expensive, and some of those costs often have to be covered. So cash donations would be gratefully accepted, and would also help purchase parts which are not donated by local businesses.

If you’d like to help out, visit their GoFundMe page, where you can also read more about their background and continued efforts.  

They could also use boxes. The perfect sizes are 50 cm. x 45 cm. x 28 cm. (Rebecca uses two of these for the small chairs); 28″ x 20″ x 14″, and 29″ x 14″ x 24″ are great for the large chairs. If you’re getting Amazon deliveries regularly, you might also have the boxes they need; the ones that say P5 on the bottom are perfect (25.75″ x 20.75″ x 16.5″).

So if you have any boxes that are the right size, and would like to donate them, please connect connect with Marty and Rebecca through the Bella’s Bumbas Facebook page or email bellasbumbas@gmail.com

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email me  at missyblog@gmail.com“Like” this blog on Facebook and follow me on Twitter.

You can also get email notifications every time I post a new blog by using the “Follow Me” link on the right side of this page.