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Disabled athlete's wheelchair stolen during test drive

Published On: Jul 10 2014 09:48:43 AM CDT
Aaron Fotheringham



A local man who relies on his wheelchair not only to get around but to do what he loves is now at a loss.

During a test drive, his wheelchair was stolen.

"Guess they needed it more than me," said wheelchair moto-cross athlete Aaron Fotheringham, also known as Wheelz.

Fotheringham was born with spina bifida, a birth defect of the spinal cord, which resulted in him having no usage of his legs. He went for a test drive in a Valley neighborhood before buying a truck Tuesday.

"At the bottom of this guy's driveway, I left the wheelchair. I thought about it for a second, like maybe I should put my wheelchair in the truck, but I was like, I'm just driving around the block real quick. Who's going to steal a wheelchair?" Fotheringham said.

Fotheringham said the test drive lasted two minutes, tops. The Nitro Circus performer who travels the world performing his famous back flips in stadium shows said the wheelchair was more than just a means of getting around.

"It's kind of like my money maker. It's the chair I use to do my jumps and tricks in," Fotheringham said.

The wheelchair, which is named Slammy, has full suspension, is lime neon green and has skateboard wheels in the front and big wheels in the back. A chair like it goes for $3,600. Fotheringham has a competition in a week and is now rushing to get another in time to compete.

"We've got to build the chair, and I've got to test it and get used to it because every chair is a little bit different, so I have to get it dialed in," Fotheringham said.

Fotheringham said he'll think twice before leaving his wheelchair unattended, but hopes the person who took Slammy will turn a wrong into a right.

"Maybe give it to a good cause, or hopefully it goes and does someone good like it did for me," Fotheringham said.


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