ST. PETERSBURG — The days of walks around the neighborhood are over. So, too, are days spent on the beach, cooking, doing the laundry.
Lynda Adkins, 67, has watched her mobility slip away as severe medical problems have left her all but home-bound.
Last week, the last of that independence was taken.
A blue tricycle with tall steel handlebars, metal bell, basket and Elvis Presley license plate disappeared from her driveway. She had been riding it every day to improve the circulation in her legs and enjoy a few moments in the sunshine.
"I hope whoever took it from me really needed it," she said. "Because I sure did."
Adkins has battled cancer twice, suffers from chronic lung infections, receives intravenous medication four times daily, uses a nebulizer and takes pills to regulate her blood pressure.
"I used to work in a factory back in Illinois," she said. "Used to be on my feet all day — eight hours a day. Now, I can hardly get up to walk outside."
Her husband, Lemuel Adkins, 77, has searched the neighborhood, but found nothing.
The couple, who lives in the 2800 block of 25th Avenue N, has not reported the missing tricycle to police.
"It ain't the kind of thing that other people would see as a big loss," he said. "But to her . . ."
"I'm heartbroken," Lynda Adkins said, fidgeting with the IV tube running from her forearm. "What a cruel thing to do, to take someone's bike."
The couple lives on a fixed income and can't afford to replace it, they said. It was a gift in the first place.
Lemuel Adkins, a former Marine who spends his days caring for his wife and growing sunflowers and marigolds, never had anything stolen from him before.
He suspects the bike was taken by kids looking for a thrill or someone looking to pawn it.
"If I see it," he said. "I'll get it back for her."
Lynda Adkins has been trying to stay positive, but she doesn't think she'll get her tricycle back.
"It's not like if someone in the neighborhood took it, they'll be riding it around," she said. "They couldn't be that stupid."
Times researcher Caryn Baird contributed to this report. Marissa Lang can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (813) 226-3386.