It hadn’t been easy to obtain, build, and modify Leland Kraft’s custom-made bike. The three-wheeler was specially designed so the 12-year-old, who suffers from cerebral palsy, could join his sisters on bike rides. Unfortunately, Kraft didn’t get to enjoy his new bike for very long before it was stolen. Now, Leland’s family is reaching out for help in recuperating the tragic loss.
Leland’s parents, Jennifer and Nicholas Kraft, told WDIV news they bought the bike for their son so he could experience a sense of freedom and independence. They said the boy had trouble riding an ordinary two-wheeled bike due to cerebral palsy stemming from a stroke he suffered in utero.
“The bike itself was bought because he can’t really do a two-wheel,” his mother told the outlet. “It keeps him steady and it keeps him safe.”
In order to make the bike just right for Leland, his parents first had to find the right model — an adult 3-wheeled tricycle. They then had to order the bike, assemble it, and order more custom parks. Finally, they say Leland’s uncle gave it final modifications to fit his needs.
They gave the bike to Leland as a 12th birthday present. However, he was only able to enjoy it for a short time. Two weeks later, the Kraft family found the bike missing from their yard.
“We live in an apartment and we do not have access to a shed/garage or any real type of way to secure belongings outside,” Jennifer wrote on a GoFundMe page. “Still, stealing a bike is not acceptable.”
For Leland’s father Nicholas, the loss is especially upsetting given the amount of time and effort that went into getting the bike.
“It just seems like all that hard work we did to get it shipped here because of everything that’s going on, and my brother-in-law’s work on the bike — it just seems like it went to waste,” he said.
The father also says Leland has had a hard time dealing with the unexpected theft.
“I don’t know if he feels targeted individually, but he was mad,” Nicholas said. “He was trying to figure out why someone would steal his bike.”
The Krafts have started a GoFundMe page to help cover the roughly $400 cost of the bike. However, they say the monetary loss pales in comparison to the harm done to Leland.
“It was more so about his independence,” said his father. “His sisters can ride their bikes, and we wanted him to go on walks and bike ride and join in on the fun.”
Leland’s mother Jennifer said they would accept the safe return of the bike, no questions asked.
“If you have it, return it. If you got rid of it — I don’t know, pay us,” she said. “I don’t want to turn them in. I just want his bike back.”
As of this writing, the family has raised $1800; the goal was $500.