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Racing chair stolen from Colorado adaptive athlete (Local Tips & Reviews)

LONGMONT — An adaptive athlete’s racing chair was stolen out of her garage last week in Longmont, completely changing the summer of competitive races she envisioned.

Julia Beckley has a set of degenerative bone diseases that make her bones very susceptible to fractures and breaks. Using her racing chair, she estimates she has been in more than 30 different competitions over the years.

“I always have a big smile [while racing], because the alternative option is that I’m sitting in the ICU somewhere,” Beckley said. “The time I have out on the course, the time I have in my chair is everything.”

Beckley’s coach Bill Stahl said she has to be very consistent in her training when preparing for the next race.

“She hates being called an inspiration, but there are so many people have seen her story. And it goes much deeper than the fact that she is in a wheelchair,” said Stahl, who knows Beckley has helped a number of young athletes get involved in the sport.

MORE: Para athlete to take on full Colfax Marathon as part of pilot program

On Wednesday, March 29, Beckley returned to her Longmont home and saw her garage door was open. She immediately searched for her lime green racing chair, named ‘Tequila Lime,’ but it was stolen along with many of her medications and other items. The theft means she likely will not be able to compete in many races this year, barring a chair that is borrowed or donated.

“I think they just saw it as money,” said Eddie Perez, Beckley’s friend, about whoever stole the racing chair. “I don’t think they realize what’s behind it and how much it means to that person or the stress and struggle it took to get it made.”

Beckley said the theft took away more than just a possession.

“I feel like I belong, I feel like I have hope [while racing],” said Beckley. “That’s, to me, what was taken away that night.”

Beckley plans to go to Atlanta and be fitted for a new chair in mid-April, but it is an expensive process that normally takes months to complete.

A GoFundMe has been created to help fund Beckley’s new racing chair. As of Sunday evening, more than $3,000 had been raised.

If anyone sees the chair, Beckley said to call the Longmont Police Department and report it.

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