Free wheelin': Fund created to help local woman regain freedom
Six years ago, Annie Miller was in a critical car accident. Annie was thrown from the car and when she hit the pavement her future changed. She suffered traumatic brain injury (TBI).
Now, 21-years-old, Annie has learned to live with the effects on her body from that night. Her left side endured nerve damage from brain shearing that occurred when she was ejected and landed abruptly. She walks lightly and carries a big stick to stabilize her stride. Her left hand cannot open and close on its own.
You'd never know she has mobility issues when you see her riding through Alexandria on her pink three-wheeled bike. A bicycle that someone stole and dumped in the marsh outside Depot Express a few weeks ago.
Annie had stopped at the establishment on a warm afternoon during one of her rides. When she left, her bike was missing. It was found - damaged - a week ago.
"The best times now are on the bike and in the water," Annie said.
Friends and family have set up a fund to help get Annie some new wheels. "Annie's Bike Fund" has been set up at Wells Fargo and at Bike and Fitness Company in Alexandria. Local Walmart employees pooled together $100 and have already contributed to the fund.
Bike and Fitness Company is working with Annie to get a bike that works for her. Because of her restricted mobility, modifications need to be made to make the bicycle fit Annie's needs.
A basic three-wheel bike costs $319. Annie's neighbor, Wendy Haner, who helps look after Annie, said with modifications, the bike will cost $600.
"This is Annie's only transportation, her only freedom," Haner said.
Bike and Fitness Company is also researching a locking mechanism that Annie will be able to operate to prevent another theft. TBI has affected Annie's memory so she cannot use a combination lock and the disability in her hands restricts the types of locks she can open with a key.
If you would like to contribute to Annie's Bike Fund, stop in to Wells Fargo or Bike and Fitness Company.
BIKE THEFTS IN ALEXANDRIA
2011 - 27 stolen, 13 recovered
2012 - 31 stolen, 5 recovered (as of August 24)
No specific locations appeared to be targeted.
Information provided by Alexandria Police Department.
Crystal Dey Crystal Dey is a staff reporter for the Echo Press. Originally from Minnesota's Iron Range, Dey worked for newspapers in North Dakota, Florida and Connecticut before returning to her home state to join the Echo Press in October 2011. Dey studied Mass Communications at Minnesota State University Moorhead with an emphasis in Online Journalism. Follow Staff Reporter Crystal Dey on Twitter at @CrystalDey_Echo.