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Special needs man’s stolen bike to be replaced, thanks to community’s generosity

COURTENAY, B.C. – Matthew Caldwell and his family are grateful for a giving community.

Matthew felt crushed after his customized electric bike was stolen from outside the Courtenay White Spot, where he works as a dishwasher.

The 22-year-old has special needs and will never drive, so cycling is his only means of getting around town.

“I was shocked,” Matthew told earlier in the month.

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“I was kind of angry because it’s my bike. It’s my transportation from home to work and I was really angry.”

News of the theft circulated, and people in the Comox Valley and Campbell River were quick to rally around Matthew and his family.

Through funds generated through the GoFundMe and a private donation, the BionX model bike will be replaced, Matthew’s dad Mike told today.

Donations are still being accepted on the page, as Mike notes that GoFundMe takes a percentage of the donations.

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“We’re so close to it, but definitely yes, I’d say by Monday we will have reached our goal,” Mike said.

Mike said words can’t describe his appreciation for the public’s support.

“It’s just outstanding how everybody came together and bonded for a complete stranger,” he said.

According to Mike, one business in particular was key in helping the family.

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Fitness Etc. – with locations in Courtenay, Campbell River, and Parksville – donated $2,100 to the family.

“We pride ourselves on helping our community in all our stores,” Fitness Etc. owner Chad Braithwaite said.

Fitness Etc. owner Chad Braithwaite rallied customers, family, friends, and other businesses in the community to rally around the family.
Photo by Troy Landreville/98.9 The Goat/Vista Radio


“We’re always looking to give back, whether it’s sports athletes or people down on their luck. For us it was just a no-brainer.”

Braithwaite shared the story on his personal and Fitness Etc. Facebook pages. Through Facebook, he was able to garner several donations from Campbell River’s business community, as well as friends.

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“Between the two stores (Fitness Etc. in Courtenay and Campbell River), we did about $1,300, and everything else was donated from friends and family,” Braithwaite said.

Meanwhile Mike said another bike has already been ordered for his son.

“And we’re going to a place in Victoria where we’ll get a proper chain and padlock,” he noted.

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