Romham Gallacher was getting set to leave home on Saturday morning when it became apparent something was horribly wrong.
The shed where Gallacher, who uses the pronouns they/them, keeps their motorized wheelchair had been broken into. The wheelchair was gone, along with its charger.
“I panicked,” Gallacher said over the phone from their home. “I honestly don’t know what I’m what I’m going to do.”
Gallacher quickly created some flyers to share on social media, and filed a police report in hope of recuperating the $4,000 wheelchair as quickly as possible.
CBC News contacted the Vancouver police about the missing chair but did not get an immediate response.
‘I can’t go do anything’
At home in East Vancouver, near Victoria Drive and Venables Street, Gallacher can get around on a couple of forearm crutches.
But to leave Gallagher needs their motorized wheelchair to do everything from buy groceries to attend choir practice.
“It completely changes my life,” Gallacher said, crying. “I can’t go do anything.”
Gallacher suffers from ankylosing spondylitis, a type of arthritis that affects the spine, and lives off of disability payments. Money to buy the wheelchair about a year ago came from a small inheritance when Gallacher’s parents died.
“I knew that I would be needing it for a long time and I wanted to get something that would really work for my body,” Gallacher said, adding that the lightweight, customized wheelchair fits better than mobility scooters they’ve used in the past.
Buying a new one isn’t financially feasible.
No questions asked
Gallacher says friends and community members have been helpful — putting up flyers, searching for the wheelchair and dropping by with groceries. Some have even offered to host a fundraiser.
But until Gallacher can get their motorized wheelchair back, any sort of outing is put on hold.
Gallacher says they hope the thief will return the wheelchair, no questions asked.
“I have no desire to criminalize anyone over this,” they said. “I just need my legs back.”