LONG BEACH, CA --A Southern California family was devastated after someone stole a special beach wheelchair from a man who suffers from a traumatic brain injury.
Mike Freeman was in disbelief after he learned his son's chair, along with the family's trailer, was stolen near a Long Beach hotel on Aug. 3.
"It's just sad that people would take something from anyone, much less a handicap person who needs it to have an enjoyment in life," he said.
Mike Freeman said his family was in Long Beach that day to attend a camp for 26-year-old Patrick Freeman. Patrick went to the hospital overnight after suffering sever seizures, but when the family returned to their hotel, the trailer was missing and the wheelchair was inside.
"We like to use the things we have to help other people," Mike added. "We had plans in just a few weeks to take another family who did not have a beach wheelchair to the beach and let him use that."
Three years ago, Patrick was crossing Sunset Boulevard when he was ran over by a driver. He suffered a traumatic brain injury and was in a coma for two months.
Due to the severity of Patrick's injuries, both parents had to relocate from Colorado to California.
"Over the last three years, he's made almost miraculous progress. He is still severely disabled. He still gets fed through a G-tube much of the time," Mike added.
The family had only had the wheelchair for about a month when it was stolen. They said the beach is a very special place for them, in part, because Patrick moved to California for its beaches.
The beach wheelchair allowed Patrick to enjoy the water in a safe way. The family said the chair's arm rests are flotation devices and helped Patrick enjoy the ocean.
The chair was valued at $1,700.
Anyone with information on the theft was urged to call police.