Tag Archives: Bella’s Bumbas

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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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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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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Webster woman runs for Bella’s Bumbas

9 Nov
Kim Rosdahl with a Bella’s Bumba

Here’s a great story about a woman who took her passions and used them to benefit a very worthwhile organization.

Webster resident Kim Rosdahl is a runner, the kind who last year signed up for a 50K trail race in hilly Mendon Ponds because she thought it would be a fun challenge. Her normally packed fall racing calendar has mostly been cancelled due to the pandemic, however, so she decided to create an event of her own: a charity run to benefit Bella’s Bumbas.

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 about 1500 chairs to children in at least 27 countries, often adapting the chairs for each child’s individual needs, and charging the families only for shipping.

Kim found out about the organization at work, where she provides early intervention services to young children. Bella’s Bumbas’ mission to offer mobility for children struck a chord with her.

If I’ve learned one thing through the past seven months of this global pandemic, it’s that running and movement in general have not only kept me physically healthy but emotionally and mentally strong at the same time. …

During my 15 years working in early intervention I’ve worked with many children who have limited to no mobility due to various health reasons. It was last year that I was introduced to the Bella’s Bumba chair and learned that it was developed and made right here in the town of Webster, where I live.

It didn’t take her long to come up with the perfect way to bring her two passions — running and her work with children — together.

She reached out to Bella’s Bumbas for permission to organize a run to raise funds and awareness. Then she spread the word to her neighbors and friends: join her as she ran for three hours around her neighborhood for Bella’s Bumbas.

Many people did. From 9 a.m. to noon yesterday morning, Kim Rosdahl ran in never-ending laps around her Tuscany Lane neighborhood. She was sometimes accompanied by friends and family, often times accompanied by children. By the end of the run, more than 20 different people ages 4 to 62 had joined her for at least one lap, and Kim estimated she’d completed more than 17 miles.

Many others who didn’t participate have donated to the Bella’s Bumbas GoFundMe page in support of Kim’s run.

After the run Kim wrote in an email,

This organization has made an impact across the globe for children who would have never had the opportunity to become more mobile and engage in play with their peers. Knowing the impact movement has made in my life and the ways it’s helped me through the past few months, I know the impact for these children is even larger!

It made me so happy to see many of the kids and families within my neighborhood join me during my 3-hour run. It makes me even happier to know that we helped to provide more opportunities for so many children both inside and outside our community, to laugh and play and engage in movement activities making life just a little bit better.

It was a wonderful day, not only because the weather was glorious. It was also an inspiring testament to the fact that one person can really make a difference in our world, especially when you follow your passion.

To find out more about Bella’s Bumbas and the difference they’re making for children all around the world, check out this YouTube video. You can also connect with them on their Facebook page. And definitely connect to Bella’s Bumbas GoFundMe page to show your support for Kim’s run!

Some of the morning’s youngest runners (L. Currier)
Kim’s neighbor friends Olivia, Abby and Ellie help her hold the finisher ribbon they made for her to break through at the end of the run.

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Bella’s Bumbas’ mission is spreading worldwide

17 Aug

(A young boy in the Philippines learning to use his Bella’s Bumba.)

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, then you’re very familiar with Bella’s Bumbas.

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 have shipped more than 1400 chairs to children in at least 27 countries, often adapting the chairs for each child’s individual needs, and charging the families only for shipping.

Although the world has in many ways come screeching to a halt these last several months, children’s need for these special chairs has not slowed, and neither has Rebecca and Marty’s commitment to filling that need.

On the contrary, they’ve devised a plan to get even MORE chairs shipped worldwide, more economically, by packing and sending international “kits.”

Rebecca explained in an email,

Bella’s Bumbas has been trying out sending “kits” internationally to a few countries, and having success with it. We can UPS all the needed assembly parts, minus the seats, for three to four Bella’s Chairs. (We’ve sent them) to Indonesia, Philippines, and now we would like to start in Malaysia.

In Indonesia, they receive a box of parts from us, purchase a comparable local seat to attach and send within the country to the family in need. The family pays a portion of the international shipping of the parts, and the local shipping from our volunteer in Indonesia.

The kits are saving everyone money all around. 

If we were to ship one completed Bella’s Bumba to each Indonesian family that requests one, it would be approx $350.00 USD. We can send the same size box with three to four kits to our volunteer for nearly the same price.

What started just three years ago, when Marty cobbled together the first Bumba for his niece Bella, who was born with spina bifida, has now spread across the world, enriching thousands of children’s lives with newfound mobility. 

How you can help

Even though many of their parts are donated, Bella’s Bumbas does have to buy parts and cover some overhead expenses. 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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An update on Bella’s Bumbas

5 Apr

In March 2017, I first introduced my readers to Webster residents Rebecca Orr and Marty Parzynski and their incredible grass-roots organization Bella’s Bumbas when I wrote about them in my D&C East Extra column.  (And here is a follow-up I wrote in January 2018.)

Their niece Bella was 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 a posting on Pinterest about 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.

Bella’s Bumbas has grown steadily since those early days, and to date Rebecca and Marty have built and shipped more than 1400 chairs to children all around the world, still only charging families for shipping costs — when they can’t arrange to deliver them personally.

Marty, the master builder, has also continued to develop their product, coming up with design improvements specifically developed for children with particular disabilities.

I was thinking about these fine folks the other day and wondering how their “business” was faring in these difficult times. Rebecca filled me in, saying in her email:

Wow 3 years ????? Who would have thought we would still be “rollin” and growing the way we are…. We have been blessed with amazing volunteers, literally around the world now. We have made some amazing connections and have our little chairs in 36 countries.

During this this “social distancing”  time , we are missing our volunteers greatly . Uncle Marty is slowly but surely still making chairs, aunt Becky is learning, and has made her first chair. Our granddaughter Sage has been helping since we started and has become proficient enough for us to send parts to her home and volunteer her time remotely. She is assembling chassis then will drop them off (via her mom’s help) and we will attach the seats.

Even with everything else going on in the world today, requests for Bumbas are still “trickling in,” Rebecca said. But, she added, Corona has affected them in one big way: they’re beginning to run low on the shipping boxes that are usually donated to them regularly by businesses which are now closed.

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″).

unnamed (11)

Bella, the little lady who inspired Bella’s Bumbas

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. They also still have a GoFundMe page if you’d like to send a direct donation.

And little Bella herself? She’s now almost 5 years old, and thanks to the strength she was able to build with her Bella’s Bumba, she’s now walking with help from a walker, and is even taking a few independent steps. This for a young lady whom doctors said would never walk, and maybe even never sit up unassisted.

Here are several other photos from the Bella’s Bumbas workshops:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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A great event for a great cause

16 Jun

IMG_20190615_165820776

It was a rather dreary late spring day yesterday. That is, everywhere but under the tent set up outside Ploty’s Hometown Tavern, where laughs and smiles brightened the day for several hours yesterday afternoon and evening.

Hundreds attended a very special and heart-warming fund-raising event yesterday in support of Bella’s Bumbas, an incredible Webster-based organization that is changing the lives of children all around the world.

IMG_20190615_165812734_BURST000_COVER_TOPBella’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 have shipped 850 chairs to children in 27 countries, often adapting the chairs for each child’s individual needs, and charging the families only for shipping.

You can read more about this great cause in this blog I wrote back in 2017, and this follow-up blog.

And if you really wonder if this organization is truly making a difference, consider this: parents of Bella, whose diagnosis with spina bifida inspired the creation of the first Bella’s Bumba, were told she would never even sit up. Today, thanks to the strength she has gained from her Bumba, she is not only using a walker, but has even taken several steps on her own.

Folks who attended yesterday’s event were treated to pizza, drink specials, DJ music, and lots of raffles, including SO MANY GIFT BASKETS spread on tables inside and outside the tavern that I couldn’t even count them all. 

I’ve put more photos from the event on a small gallery here. Thank you so much for Eric at Ploty’s Hometown Tavern for hosting!

If you weren’t able to make yesterday’s event but love with what Rebecca and Marty are doing to change children’s lives, you can still help to provide some much-needed cash to keep their cause rolling (so to speak).  

Visit their GoFundMe page to read more about Bella’s Bumbas and throw them a little cash. Because they really ARE changing children’s’ lives.

IMG_20190615_170219163

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Ploty’s fundraiser will benefit Bella’s Bumbas

12 Jun

Got no plans for this Saturday night? I have a great idea. Head on out to Ploty’s Hometown Tavern in the Village of Webster for great drinks, music and prizes, all to benefit one of my favorite local agencies, Bella’s Bumbas.

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. In just their first year of operation, they shipped more than 300 “Bella’s Bumbas” around the world, often adapting the chairs for each child’s individual needs, and charging the families only for shipping. You can read more about it in this blog I wrote back in 2017, and this follow-up blog.

poster

At Saturday’s Ploty’s fundraiser, participants will enjoy drink specials, basket raffles, a 50/50 drawing, live music, and more. All monies raised will go to directly support Bella’s Bumbas’ mission to provide mobility to children with disabilities.

It’s sure to be a good time with friends new and old, and helping out such a wonderful organization as Bella’s Bumbas is just a bonus.

The event takes place from 4 to 9 p.m. at Ploty’s Hometown Tavern, 27 West Main Street in the Village of Webster.

Please bring cash because they don’t have any way to accept credit cards. (Bring lots of cash!)

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

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