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This article was published 27/7/2012 (1731 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
In her family's home, Sarah Yates-Howorth is the only person who can walk.
The frame for the bathroom door of the Osborne Village bungalow is wide, and a ramp winds up to the front door, so Ted, her husband, and Gemma, her daughter, who both use wheelchairs, can come home.
"It's a feature of the house, not an apology," Yates-Howorth said about an elevator that extends from the basement to the main level.
During the day, Yates-Howorth helps Gemma, 23, move from her wheelchair to a recumbent bicycle. Mother and daughter ride around the crescent and the bike rides help Gemma maintain the strength in her legs she lacks because of cerebral palsy. She switches back to her wheelchair when it's time to go inside.
Those rides, however, ended on July 25 when Yates-Howorth noticed Gemma's custom-made bike, worth $4,500, had been stolen from their garage.
"I was surprised by the space that was open in the garage, and it took me a few minutes to realize that, in fact, my daughter's bike was gone," said Yates-Howorth, while seated across from Gemma in their living room.
As a result of cerebral palsy, Gemma is unable to speak clearly, and using her toes, she points to letters on a laminated chart that rests on the hardwood floor, beside the wheels of her chair.
S-A-D, spelled Gemma while describing how the loss of her bike made her feel. "But it is not helping if you are sad if you cannot do anything," she said slowly, her mother clarifying her words.
Yates-Howorth has filed a police report, contacted Freedom Concepts (the maker of the bike) and contacted the Cerebral Palsy Association of Manitoba. She has also searched her neighbourhood twice and posted pictures, noting that chances of recovering the bike increase, she believes, by "the more places we can post it."
In the meantime, Gemma will wait in her wheelchair.
"That's a critical part of keeping as much mobility as you can... keeping yourself that strong," said Yates-Howorth, as she explained basic tasks such as moving Gemma out of her wheelchair become difficult if her daughter loses the strength to support herself.
Over the past 10 years, the family home has been broken into three times, and Yates-Howorth has lost cash and identification, in addition to personal property.
But despite the break-ins, Yates-Howorth considers her neighbourhood "safe."
"Yesterday I was very, very mad at this and Gemma said at least they left her helmet. I guess people steal everywhere, don't they?" she said.