Community rallies around wheelchair theft victim

Neighbors, strangers offer to donate own chairs, build ramp


Anthony Barrera is on the move again in a temporary replacement wheelchair after someone stole his from his front porch on the 200 block of Barrera Street Monday by cutting through the locks and removing the chain.

Since KSAT 12 aired his story Tuesday, neighbors, friends and strangers have offered to help him.

"I knew people looked out for me," Barrera said. "But I didn't know that many people did."

Anthony has ALS, a disease that destroys muscle function. He cannot keep his wheelchair inside his home because the house is not wheelchair accessible.

But volunteers hope to change that by building a ramp.

"I was thinking about either a plate sale or going around the neighborhood and asking for donations," said Elizabeth Trevino, Barrera's neighbor. "Because people, you know, are very giving nowadays."

Numerous viewers contacted KSAT 12 offering to donate wheelchairs, although Barrera got his temporary replacement with the help of the Muscular Dystrophy Association.

He will get a permanent replacement wheelchair once the necessary paperwork has been processed.

"It was overwhelming at first. It caught me by surprise. But then I started realizing there are good people out there," he said.

Word of Barrera's story even reached those who can help him the most -- the Texas Chapter of the ALS Association. The organization provides numerous resources from medical equipment to home visits and emotional support.

You can call ALSA at 1-877-ALS-HOPE or call the San Antonio office directly at 210-733-5204.

"Its really to gather a sense of hope in managing this disease because there is no cure for ALS right now," said Stephen Morse, the director of care services for ALSA.

Now, Barrera is feeling that hope after seeing the community help keep him going.

"Its like there are more good than there are bad," he said.

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