When Raymond Dell’Aera parked his wheelchair outside a friend’s home on Saywell Drive near Keele Street and Finch Avenue Saturday afternoon, he didn’t imagine it wasn't safe.
But when he emerged from the home and looked for the chair in the private alleyway where he had parked it, it was gone and he was shocked.
Since birth, the 25-year-old has suffered from muscular dystrophy, a disease that makes it difficult for him to walk. He calls his wheelchair ‘his legs.’ He describes the vehicle as his lifeline and says he depends on it for socializing, pursuing job opportunities and general mobility. And he’s now trying desperately to get it back.
“Without my chair I feel stranded because I can’t really leave my house unless my parents drive me. And they work, so they’re busy,” Dell’Aera told CP24’s Cristina Tenaglia at his home. “Without my chair I can’t really do anything a normal 25-year-old would do… because I can’t leave my house.”
Since yesterday he and his family have created posters of the chair and posted them around the neighbourhood where it went missing. According to 31 Division an officer has been assigned to the case and will be investigating.
Specially designed for Dell'Aera, the motorized wheelchair has a value of about $15,000 and was paid for with assistance from OHIP. Dell’Aera didn’t have insurance for the chair and he’s not yet sure whether the government will help him get a new one if he doesn’t find it.
Anyone with information about the chair is asked to contact police or Crime Stoppers.