RUSTON, LA. (KTVE/KARD)– Louisiana Tech University is investigating multiple cases concerning stolen bikes. Among the victims, a special needs student whose bike was taken from right outside of her dorm.
“They said that a lot of bikes have been stolen lately,” Trish Ratcliff said. “So they were hoping to maybe locate the bike and that maybe since hers is unique that it would be able to be located, but they’re not sure.”
Trish Ratcliff’s daughter, Kaity, is a student at LA Tech. She suffers from a rare genetic disease called Friedreichs Ataxia. It causes difficulty walking, loss of sensation in the arms and legs, and impaired speech.
“It effects her balance and will eventually effect her ability to walk,” Ratcliff said.
To Kaity and her family, this is more than just a bike. It’s the one thing that’s proven to potentially make her better. Ratcliff said there’s no treatment or cure for FA, but Kaity’s doctors have encouraged her to exercise in hopes of helping her through the disease. That’s where her trike comes in.
“Bike riding is actually a big thing in the FA community,” Ratcliff said.
Ratcliff said Kaity used the trike to attend RideAtaxia, a national fundraise that helps research efforts to find a cure for FA.
“She got the bike so that she could participate in the RideAtaxia events and also to exercise and to keep herself strong for as long as she possibly can,” Ratcliff said.
Now that the bike is gone, Ratcliff said it’ll be hard to replace. It was originally purchased through donations raised by friends and loved ones to help Kaity fight her disease.
“She has a special situation, but some of these kids their bike is their only way of transportation and so maybe if somebody sees this story and realizes what kind of effect they are having on people, maybe they’ll think twice,” Ratcliff said.
Ratcliff said she’s reported the bike stolen and has posted it on Facebook is hopes someone has seen it. She said she’s overwhelmed by the support and response from the community.
Louisiana Tech Police said most of the stolen bike reports they’ve gotten have happened in broad daylight with people around. They said students should be aware of their surroundings and report any suspicious indicents to them.