MODESTO (CBS13) – It was a devastating day for a paralyzed girl in Modesto. Her customized wheelchair was stolen from outside of her home and her mother is worried she may not be able to replace it.
“She needs it for everything,” said Gloria Torres. “She needs it for school, anytime we leave the house. Her only means of mobility is her wheelchair.”
Her daughter, 10-year-old Eliana Gomez, could hardly find the words to explain just how important this wheelchair is in her life. The 4th grader with spina bifida is missing the lifeline to her independence.
“It’s her only means of moving around at all,” Torres said. “She’s been in a wheelchair since she was two.”
But this isn’t your average chair. It’s customized to fit Eliana’s body and worth $4,500. Torres told CBS13 she left the chair in the car outside overnight and realized this afternoon it had been taken.
“At first I was like ‘did I take it out?’” she said. “’Did I bring it back in the house and don’t remember?’ When I told her that her chair had been stolen, she said, ‘so I can’t go to school tomorrow?’”
“I just hope they give it back,” Eliana said.
According to Gloria, the chair was fully covered by insurance when they got it a few years ago, but she isn’t certain they can get another just like it. Gloria’s aunt posted on Facebook asking for help and so far she’s raised $400. Now the family is crossing their fingers that someone comes forward with information or just brings back the chair.
“I hope he needed it more but I honestly doubt that,” Torres said.
Police told Gloria they plan to check local pawn shops for the specialized chair. And she urges the person that took it to think about the devastation they’ve caused her little girl.