Missing wheelchair for woman with cerebral palsy found in Portsmouth

PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) – Last week, we told you about 26-year-old Kiara Dixon who’s wheelchair was stolen from out front of a church on New Year’s Eve.

This past weekend, a Portsmouth woman found it.

Not only is the wheelchair Kiara’s main way of getting around, it’s also the only way she can sit up because she has cerebral palsy. It’s custom-made and worth more than $12,000.

“It’s a great relief,” said Chattanooga Dixon, Kiara’s mother.

It happened on New Year’s Eve. The family wanted to go to church, but Kiara’s wheelchair doesn’t fit in their car, so a relative dropped it off. When the Dixons arrived, it was gone.

Chattanooga a said, “I learned a valuable lesson. I will not leave it alone again.”

She reached out to 10 on Your Side, hoping someone could help. That’s where Cheryl Whitehead comes in.

“It is a major, major part of that child’s life to have this wheelchair,” said Whitehead.

On Saturday, a homeless woman came by Whitehead’s home asking for socks. The woman told Whitehead that the missing wheelchair was in the alley behind her home. Whitehead looked out of a window in the back of her house.

At the end of the alley, she saw something she thought might have been it.  She wasn’t sure who it belonged to, but she knew she had to get it back.

“I’m a registered nurse by profession, so I’m like “wait a minute, this is a specialized wheelchair. whoever doesn’t have this wheelchair they are in desperate need of this wheelchair,” said Whitehead. “That’s why I reached out, do whatever I could do to find her mom.”

She eventually found her online and said, “I don’t know if it’s your baby’s wheelchair, but it’s a wheelchair back there.”

Chattanooga came to see the wheelchair in person. Immediately, she knew it was Kiara’s. She said, “I’m just grateful that she can have her chair back, she doesn’t have to lay in the bed all day.”

Chattanooga now doesn’t have to worry about replacing the $12,000 wheelchair. Thanks to a stranger who’s now a friend, it’s back where it belongs.

Chattanooga says her next step is to raise money for a ramp, so she can move the wheelchair with her car.