Disabled man struggles without wheelchair, bike

Alex Di Pietro
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When Wesley Fiddler headed out to the shed on the north side of his basement apartment Wednesday morning, he noticed two very special items had gone missing.

Wesley Fiddler sits on the steps outside of his basement apartment on Nineteenth Street East Wednesday. He is unable to leave the premises after his wheelchair and three-wheeled bicycle went missing.

The door to the shed was off its hinges, storage lay strewn on the ground and his wheelchair and three-wheeled bicycle were gone.

Those last two items are important to Fiddler. The 45-year-old suffered from a blood clot in his right leg that spread to his lungs nine years ago. He fell into a coma, and when he woke up after three months, he couldn’t feel his legs.

“My legs are all screwed up, and (with) my back — the discs and that are all squashed,” he said. “I use the wheelchair to go for walks and use the bike for exercise. That bike is probably about the only thing that’s keeping me living right now.”

With a very limited ability to walk, Fiddler relies on the bike to get exercise. He describes it as a three-wheeled Schwinn bike with the blue paint coming off. The wheelchair is black and has no feet.

“If I don’t keep exercising, my life is over. And I know that,” Fiddler said. “I can’t run, I can’t jog on the spot … I can’t really do anything standing up.”

Fiddler suspects his equipment was stolen during the night on Tuesday, because he had used it just a day prior to its disappearance.

“He’s a large man, so the wheelchair and bike are fit for him,” said Norman Geralds, a friend of Fiddler’s.

About two years ago, Geralds asked if Fiddler required assistance at his basement apartment at 146 19th St. E. He helps Fiddler take care of basic chores such as cooking, laundry and housekeeping.

Geralds normally takes the wheelchair out from the shed to help bring Fiddler for routine walks. He repaired the door to the shed and cleaned the mess inside and outside of it.

“We were going to go for a walk this morning, and I went to check (the shed), and there was no bike, no wheelchair — nothing,” Geralds said on Wednesday. “I checked the neighbourhood and searched within a six-block radius. I went up and down the streets and in the back alleys.”

Unfortunately, Geralds was unable to retrieve the possessions.

“He’s totally housebound now,” Geralds said. “The best he can do now is sit on the back steps. He can go outside to walk, but he won’t get very far … It’s really brought his spirits down.”

As a person living off a disability wage, Fiddler said he can’t afford to buy a new wheelchair or bike. While he has alerted police about the missing property, Fiddler asks that anyone with information about its whereabouts contact him at 306-922-4446.


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