When this man's wheelchair was stolen, it took the internet less than 24 hours to buy him a new one

Dominic Hyams was born with a severe form of osteogenesis imperfecta, a condition that gives him brittle bones and affected bone formation during his childhood.

Despite the physical challenges his syndrome brings, 27-year-old Dom has never let it stand in the way of living a full and independent life - he commutes to work in central London every day and is an active campaigner on disability issues.

To get around, Dom relies on a highly specialised adapted wheelchair that was made just for his needs, so he was devastated on Wednesday morning to find it had been stolen from outside the home of a friend he had been visiting.

I was staying over at a mate’s in Stoke Newington. He carried me downstairs so I could get ready to go to work and it was gone... I just felt disbelief. My wheelchair is my legs, I use it every day. It's part of me.

Dom reported the theft to the police, but since there were no witnesses, they closed the investigation in a few hours.

Since the wheelchair wasn't in his sight at the time of the theft, he began to wonder if the insurance policy for the £17,500 chair would even be valid - and after making some calls found out to his dismay that the company that manufactures his chair doesn't even carry that model anymore.

Dom was starting to have to seriously consider about how he would be able to cope without his wheelchair when his sister came to him with an idea.

Holly told me that she'd had messages from people saying they wanted to help and they'd even suggested a crowdfunding page. She checked with me if I minded and then went ahead and set it up yesterday.

Since going live on Wednesday afternoon, Holly's GoFundMe campaign for Dom has raised £24,000 of its £25,000 target. A technician estimated a new chair will cost around £20,000, which means that Dom can breathe easy in the knowledge that a new pair of wheels will be coming his way soon.

Any extra money will be donated to bone research charities, he said.

We've been blown away by the response, it's staggering. I can't express how grateful I am for this support but safe to say the feeling I have today compared to how I felt yesterday couldn't be more different.

It may take a few months for a new wheelchair to be designed and adapted for Dom's needs, and in the meantime a company is letting him borrow one so he can maintain some of his normal routine.

But thanks to the kindness of strangers online, Dom will definitely be getting a new ride of his own soon.

Keep reading...Show less
Please log in or register to upvote this article
The Conversation (0)