BEND, OR -- A local family is searching for a special stroller stolen from their car while it was parked outside their Deschutes River Woods home, Sunday night. Alex Wilson tells KBND News it was the primary source of mobility for her four-year old terminally-ill daughter. "We just really want to get the word out that, hopefully that thief realizes they didn’t just steal a stroller, they stole someone’s livelihood. It’s not just money, it’s property, there’s sentimental attachment and that’s the way that Anabelle gets around." Anabelle suffers from Metachromatic Leukodystrophy (MLD), a rare degenerative disease with a life expectancy of between five and ten years. She has been the beneficiary of several local fundraisers, including Anabelle's Angel Glow 5K, and her mom hopes the community will rally around Anabelle, once again.
Wilson describes the stroller was an orange and black “Baby Jogger Summit X-3," worth about $500. "It’s not really anything unique necessarily; it’s just a jogging stroller. But, she can’t walk, so it’s her mobility device. It’s the way she gets around. It’s basically her wheelchair," she says. "The thing that we loved about it, it has an extended foot piece. Her knees don’t bend very well so her feet can kind of whack on stuff. Also, it has a really steep recline, so she can go back really far. It’s hard for her to sit up because she can’t hold her head up very well. So, that was also one of the reasons we really liked it."
The family filed a police report and is hopeful the public can pressure the thief to return the stroller. A Go Fund Me account
was set up late yesterday, to help the family cover the cost of replacing the stolen stroller. Donations exceeded the amount needed within two hours. The remaining money will be given to the Sparrow Clubs, of which Anabelle is a participant.
March 19, 2015 UPDATE: After an outpouring of community support, The Deschutes County Sheriff's Office told the Wilson family they are ordering a replacement stroller for Anabelle. The Go-Fund-me account set up to help the family pay for a new one has received more than $2,000 in donations in just 2 days, and Anabelle's mom says that money will now be distributed among Central Oregon charities that help children with special needs.