Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Therapy tricycle stolen from Pinellas Park girl with cerebral palsy

PINELLAS PARK — The bright green tricycle is her independence. It's her fun. It's the means by which the 14-year-old girl with cerebral palsy might one day walk unaided.

But sometime Saturday night, Christine Garner's special therapy trike was stolen from her family's porch.

Her mother has desperately searched for the $2,200 tricycle. Every day that passes, Christine gets stiffer and feels pain like arthritis in her joints. Her mother tries to help with warm baths, but it's not the same.

Four years ago, Christine had both hips replaced, and a doctor suggested the tricycle to stretch and strengthen her legs.

She takes it to the park, to walk her dog, to play with friends and to run errands with her family.

But now it's gone. It was stolen while the family slept, said Christine's mother, Tricia Garner.

Why would someone take it, Garner wonders.

She's checked Pinellas Park pawnshops. But who would buy such a specialized tricycle?

She shared photos with local scrap metal dealers. But they tell her it's not worth much.

It's of no use to most people. But to Christine, it's everything.

"I feel like there's freedom with my bike," she said.

Christine is a happy girl who likes to laugh. She loves horses, singing and reading.

She hopes that whoever stole her trike really needed it.

"That's very nice of you to think that," said Susan Conza, principal of Morning Star School, the Catholic school for disabled children that Christine attends.

"I try to think that," Christine says, laughing. "It doesn't always work."

Tricia Garner has done everything she can, including reporting the theft to police. She sent out a prayer request by e-mail with a picture of Christine grinning on the trike.

PLEASE FORWARD & POST, the mother wrote. We need all eyes and prayers!

Garner has heard from more than 100 people, including many who want to donate money for a new trike. A friend offered to host a fundraiser. But Garner wants to wait a few more days.

"There are so many people in need right now," she said. "I just can't ask people for money."

Instead, she hopes someone will spot the trike, perhaps discarded on the side of some road.

Or maybe the thieves will hear of her daughter's story and realize the girl needs it more.

As for Christine, her positive attitude is unshakable. She says the ordeal has made her realize how many people care for her.

"It makes me feel wonderful, happy and loved," she said.

Jessica Vander Velde can be reached at jvandervelde@sptimes.com or (813) 226-3433.

If you spot

the tricycle

To return Christine Garner's tricycle, bring it to Morning Star School, 4661 80th Ave. N in Pinellas Park. To report tips about the theft, call the Pinellas Park Police Department at (727) 541-0758 and ask for Sgt. Brian Unmisig.

Therapy tricycle stolen from Pinellas Park girl with cerebral palsy 09/29/11 [Last modified: Thursday, September 29, 2011 11:25pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Police: Uber driver's gun discharges during fight at Adventure Island in Tampa

    Public Safety

    TAMPA — An Uber driver's gun went off Sunday at Adventure Island during a fight between the driver and two passengers.

  2. Baker cautious on Pride politics

    Elections

    Rick and Joyce Baker strode down Central Avenue Sunday amid rainbow flags, corporate booths, and blaring music of the St. Pete Pride Festival.

    St. Petersburg mayoral candidate Rick Baker chats Sunday with people at the St. Pete Pride Festival. As mayor, Baker did not sign a Pride parade proclamation, but now he says he would.
  3. Rays' bullpen stars lit up in loss to Orioles

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Saturday it was the soft underbelly of the bullpen that let one get away from the Rays, incurring the wrath of the team's faithful followers, who wondered why the high-leverage guys weren't pitching.

    Rays closer Alex Colome, coming in with the score tied in the ninth, allows three runs in his second straight poor outing.
  4. Lightning among early suitors for defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman said he planned to explore free agency for potential needs, which include bolstering his blue line and adding a wing or two.

    Defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk, who can be a free agent Saturday, counts the Lightning among his early suitors.
  5. Senate leaders try to appease members as support for health bill slips

    National

    WASHINGTON — Senate Republican leaders scrambled Sunday to rally support for their health care bill, even as opposition continued to build outside Congress and two Republican senators questioned whether the bill would be approved this week.

    Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, speaking to reporters on Capitol Hill on Thursday, is one of the five Republican senators who announced they cannot support the health care bill as drafted.