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Appleton man starts ‘GoFundMe’ after wheelchair, walker are stolen from front yard

Published: Dec. 30, 2020 at 3:26 PM CST
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**UPDATE: Evan Strader hit his GoFundMe page goal within 15 minutes after this story aired on Action 2 News at 5! We have also passed on information to him after we received phone calls from viewers who wanted to donate their spare wheelchair and walker. We are hoping to do a follow up with Evan in the near future. Thank you to all who donated!**

APPLETON, Wis. (WBAY) - “It’s a little bit more impactful around the holidays but if this were to happen anytime, it throws a whole wrench in in my daily life,” said Evan Strader.

Strader lives in Appleton and said he has a lot to be thankful for this year - his dad beat COVID-19 after being hospitalized with the virus, he’s able to work from home and he’s set to marry his fiancée soon.

“She’s been putting up with me for 10 years, so what’s a little bit more waiting,” said Strader.

While patiently waiting to spend the rest of his life with his fiancée, Strader found himself waiting for her to pick him up on Christmas Eve for the weekend.

“As I was waiting for a ride, I had my things placed out on the lawn because they would typically just go ahead and put it in the back of the truck and off we would go,” said Strader.

Unfortunately, his wheelchair and walker were stolen out of his front yard.

“We noticed a white pickup truck pull up and somebody’s loading my wheelchair and walker in the back. My dad tried to go ahead and get out there and let them know that’s my son’s, but by the time that happened, he drove away towards Atlantic Street,” said Strader.

Strader filed a police report with the Appleton Police Department, but because he couldn’t get a license plate number ‘it’s kind of a needle in a haystack situation.’

For Strader, his wheelchair and walker are a necessity.

“Without a chair, it really kind of, It takes the legs out from under me I guess you could say,” said Strader.

Strader was born with cerebral palsy.

“My dexterity is affected but not as much as my legs so I’m able to do things in my wheelchair, but walking is something that I need assistance with,” said Strader.

Strader said he had his wheelchair and walker outside because they aren’t very conducive to his old home.

“So what I’ve adapted to doing is hanging on to furniture and things like that. Even in some cases crawling, just to get around,” said Strader.

Strader said inside the home he can manage, but when outside the home, those tools are a lifeline.

“Without them, I can’t get around the community and pretty much everywhere else I go is impossible,” said Strader. “It’s lightweight aluminum and it makes it a lot easier for me to push. And it’s good for fitting into spaces some larger chairs won’t. I really do use it.”

Action 2 News asked Strader if he thought people accidentally took his items, thinking they were outside because they were free. Strader said it was a possibility but doubtful as he had a few other items with the wheelchair and walker, like a suitcase.

Strader reached out to his insurance company but realized there’s a high deductible.

“With medical equipment, it is in and of itself very expensive,” said Strader.

Strader decided to start a GoFundMe page, which is something he’s never done.

“I’m usually not one to ask for something like that. I’d rather help other people out,” said Strader.

Strader is looking to raise $3,000. If people donate more than that, he would like to pay it forward.

“If I do get more money than I’m asking for, I’m more than happy to donate it to a charity or organization that helps folks like me because I’m not out to get more than my chair and my mobility back,” said Strader.

If you would like to help Strader, CLICK HERE to go to Strader’s GoFundMe page.

“I’ve been here all my life and just the support I’ve gotten so far it’s been great,” said Strader. “We’re lucky to live in this community.”

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