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Parkinson's sufferer's stolen bike is replaced by a Good Samaritan

A PARKINSON'S sufferer whose bike was stolen has had it replaced by a Good Samaritan.

Dave Walsh (45), who works in security at La Stampa and is the father of socialite Karla Elliott's daughter Jade, has revealed how he was left gutted after the theft of his customised bike.

What made the loss even worse is that it was the same bicycle he used for a gruelling cycle across America earlier this year, where he helped raised €6,500 for the Parkinson's Association.

Made especially for him by a British company, the bike has been invaluable in Dave's struggle against the debilitating disease, as he said his symptoms are minimised whenever he cycles.

"My jeep was parked in Store Street with my bike in the back. The windows are tinted but three young lads still spotted it and broke the glass. It happened in broad daylight, it was about 4pm and I was gutted," he said.

"They actually caught one of the young lads they suspected of doing it but because he was under-age, there wasn't much they could do.

"I obviously reported it and the gardai were brilliant, they looked into it for me and I went down myself and spoke to a few of the locals in the area to see if anyone heard anything about it.

"People were sympathetic alright but there was no word on what happened to my bike."



replacement

He decided to take things into his own hands and offer a reward for the safe return of his bike, putting out an appeal on national radio.

Although it yielded no fresh information, the big-hearted owner of Gary's Cycles in Co Sligo decided to offer him a replacement bike.

"Gary Rooney got in touch with me and told me his dad had passed away from the disease so it was obviously something close to his heart," Dave continued. "My attitude is everything happens for a reason, even the bad things, so I was thrilled with his offer. The bike has been modified especially for my build and is probably worth about €1,000."

A determined fundraiser, Dave was also hoping to join a group from the Parkinson's Association who are aiming to scale Kilimanjaro next month for the next big challenge.

However, he was unable to receive the yellow fever injection after his American cycle left his immune system very low as a result of the 4,000km trek from LA to New York.

"I ended up getting pretty sick by the end of the cycle as I wasn't looking after myself as much as I should have.

"My health is good generally but I would get sick a little bit quicker so I'm not able to take part in this year's trip.

"I'm looking at doing it next year instead," he added.

mfinn@herald.ie


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