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‘Heartbreaking’: New Westminster thieves target child’s mobility walker

Global News logo Global News 2020-08-14 Simon Little
Rya Martin's family is pleading for the return of her mobility walker. © New Westminster police Rya Martin's family is pleading for the return of her mobility walker.

A New Westminster, B.C. family is pleading for the return of a stolen custom-made mobility walker that allows their daughter to walk.

Five-year-old Rya Martin has an as-yet-undiagnosed disability that means she can only crawl or walk for short stints with the help of her parents — or her walker.

"It's heartbreaking," said Rya's mother Jessica Montesena.

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"It's pretty much her exercise ... it gives her a sense of freedom, it gives her that independence."

Her father Ryan says the walker was was made to order in Denmark, and is custom sized for Rya.

"We can't go for walks down at the quay and stuff because she can't hold her own body weight for that amount of time," he said.

"The walker, it's essential for our good walks with her."

The theft happened Sunday evening in the unit block of 1st Avenue in New Westminster.

The family had just returned home and were moving some things into the house from their van.

Rya's walker was strapped and locked to the back of the vehicle, but someone was able to cut both in a period of about 20 minutes and make off with the device.

"It's disheartening because this walker is anti-tipping walker for their child who has a disability, and this is to help their child be mobile," said New Westminster police Sgt. Jeff Scott.

"It's a huge financial strain for the family."

Ryan estimates the walker is worth $4,000 — and that the family won't be able to replace it before Rya starts school in September.

"You can't crawl around in the playground everywhere," he said.

The family is now appealing to anyone who has seen the distinctive walker to report it so that Rya can get back on her feet again. A GoFundMe campaign has also been set up to help them buy a new one.

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The device is red and black, with four grey rubber wheels.

In the meantime, the family is trying to stay positive.

"It's useless to anyone who doesn't know what it is," said Ryan.

"I just hope that whoever took it needed it just like she did, for their kid. I try and look at it from a positive, even though it may not be like that."

Video: New Westminster child's mobility aid walker stolen (Global News)


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