Written by: Jeremy Baumhower
The city of Toledo can be such a small town on occasion. I received a phone call yesterday from Julie Meeker, Kayla’s mom. It was the first of many to come. Julie wanted to express her gratitude for the love and support of her family from NW Ohio. Julie told me of something incredible that was going to happen in Kayla’s name and memory. BikesForKidsToledo.com is honoring her life by giving away an additional bike in her name. In 2009, Kayla Meeker was among those selected with a free bike from an essay her mother wrote.
When I asked Kayla’s mom about comments she made to the press about bullying not being a factor in her Kayla’s death, her clarification and answer warmed my heart. Julie admitted that Kayla was in fact bullied; but she did’nt want to have another child suffer lifelong consequences as it’s result. “Nothing I can do or say, will bring her back. I am worried that her friends may try to join her.” she explained.
The Meekers want to make sure that Kayla’s final act is not contagious. Where one’s pain will end, every other person that loved them will suffer a lifetime of pain instead.
Charles Boyk Law Offices, the people behind the Bikes For Kids Toledo campaign, found a video of Kayla in 2009, moments after winning a new bike. They created this video tribute for Kayla, in hopes of stopping Cyber Bullying.
WARNING: Watching this video will break your heart and cause tears.
The Concept for Bikes For Kids Toledo is very simple; visit their website and submit an essay on why a child you know is deserving of a bike. I would like to do something different. If you are a parent of a bullied child, or a person who knows one… tell their story as your entry. I know a new bike is just a new bike… but as you can see from Kayla in that interview, it means something more.
One Final thing: The people at Boyk Law Offices have set up a fund at PNC Bank to help cover the cost of burying Kayla. Please donate at any PNC Location to Memorial Fund for Kayla Meeker.
If you are interested in covering the cost of an additional bike for another bullied child, please email me at email@example.com
Kudos to the amazing idea behind this bike giveaway and to Charles Boyk for deciding to honor Kayla with an additional bike in her name.
TOLEDO – Bikes for Kids is asking parents, teachers, caregivers, and loved ones to recognize a deserving child this summer by nominating them to receive a free bicycle from Wersell’s Bike Shop.
Started by Charles E. Boyk Law Offices in 2009, Bikes for Kids is a program that will give away one bicycle each week of summer from June 9th until August 15th, with Wersell’s will be donating a helmet and a lock to each winner. While there are no specific guidelines on what makes a nominee deserving of a new bike, we encourage nominators to think about any kind things that the child has done for others, or how the child has positively impacted his or her family, friends, community, or classroom.
We will be launching the Bikes for Kids program on Thursday, June 5th at 10am at Wersell’s Bike Shop, 2860 W. Central Avenue in Toledo, and we will be holding a special tribute to the Meeker family to honor the memory of 2009 Bikes for Kids winner, Kayla Meeker.
Kayla’s smile could light up a room. She was always a caring sister to her foster and adopted brothers and sisters, and always quick to try and make other people laugh. Even when battling a rare health issue that left her paralyzed for eight weeks in 2009, Kayla never let the immobility dim her resolve. For these reasons, among many others, her mother nominated the then-11-year-old for that year’s Bikes for Kids contest and Kayla won one of that summer’s bikes.
Sadly, Kayla took her own life on May 8, 2014, at the tender age of 16. The Anthony Wayne sophomore was an avid softball player and was still known after all these years for making others smile.
To honor Kayla and her dedication to others, Charles Boyk Law Offices is donating an extra bicycle to the 2014 Bikes for Kids program, to help raise awareness of cyber bullying and childhood suicide and prevention. If you know of a child who exhibits Kayla’s same passion for helping others, please let us know by visiting http://www.BikesforKidsToledo.com and telling their story. Together we can work to recognize kids who make a difference in the lives of others and help put an end to childhood suicide.
“The goal of Bikes for Kids is to recognize the compassion and kindness of Toledo’s kids, especially this year, in light of the tragic loss of a young girl who was so giving to others,” Chuck Boyk said. “We hope that this program helps kids focus on being good to one another and to themselves.”