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Disabled teen receives new trike after Chula Vista theft

Disabled teen receives new trike after Chula Vista theft
Posted at 4:53 PM, May 06, 2022

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - A disabled teen got back a lifeline stolen from her months ago, with an assist from ABC 10News viewers.

On Friday morning, at a park and ride in Oceanside, came a moment Marlene Swanson and her daughter Desiray, 18, have been waiting five months for.

“She hasn't been really vocal about it, but she is excited,” said Swanson.

ABC 10News last caught up with the two in December, after Swanson discovered something missing from the back of their Chula Vista home: a donated, adaptive tricycle belonging to her 18-year-old daughter, who was born with Down Syndrome.

Equipped with custom handlebars and pedals, the trike, valued at about $1,200, had become a lifeline for Desiray during the pandemic.

“If we said it's time to ride the bike, she’d perk up,” said Swanson.

The trike also helped Desiray lose nearly 40 pounds, important because of a congenital heart condition. Marlene says the theft left her daughter heartbroken.

“Not as cheerful … She used to be more talkative, but she’s kind of not vocal very much,” said Swanson.

After ABC 10news aired a story on the theft, there was an overwhelming response from viewers.

“It brought tears to my eyes,” said Swanson.

Within hours, an online fundraiser had exceeded its goal.

“There's good in people, and people care. There’s compassion out there,” said Swanson. “I just want to thank everyone from the bottom of my heart.”

Five months later, a backordered trike that became available, was delivered to Desiray by an Orange County nonprofit, OC Special Spokes.

“Happy, happy,” said Desiray.

The family recently moved to Alpine, with a lot of space in the area for Desiray to ride her trike.

“To see that smile come back again, it's everything … It’s a special day for Desiray, and it's a beautiful gift,” said Swanson.