Thieves stole her bike, but they haven’t robbed 10-year-old Elina Childs of her spirit — thanks to the kind support of Edmonton friends and a generous bicycle manufacturer.
The Bonnie Doon area youngster was away on a camping trip earlier this month with her parents, Seann and Michelle Childs, when hoodlums broke into the family’s garage, snatching Elina’s prized Opus bicycle. The camping trip was a much-needed break for the family; Elina had spent the bulk of the month of July in hospital, dealing with the complications of cystic fibrosis, a disease of the lungs and digestive system.
The bike had been specially outfitted to work with Elina’s condition, featuring panniers (so she didn’t have to carry her backpack on her back), and handlebar risers (cystic fibrosis makes Elina’s wrists swell).
Though the bike was discovered nearby a few days later, it had been stripped bare. The theft hit the family hard.
“I couldn’t understand why they stole her bike, and not mine, and that made me angry,” recalled Seann. “My initial feeling was ‘can Elina catch a break here?’ Because she hadn’t had a good summer.”
Family friend Bryan McClean heard about Elina’s loss, and sprang into action. He contacted Opus Bikes , a Canadian company based in Montreal with a reputation for urban bicycles that “respond to every day diversity,” with features like a lower stand-over bar, according to marketing manager, Martin Rancourt.
Though Elina’s bike was already a couple of years old, Opus found a sample in its inventory of the same model. They donated it to the family, and local bike shop Redbike promptly assembled it for free.
“I couldn’t believe the generosity,” said Seann. “We were completely floored.”
Friends and family organized a “reveal” earlier this week, surprising Elina with her new wheels.
“The bike means having freedom to ride with her friends, and it means having the ability to ride with us as a family, down to Whyte Ave. or the river valley,” said Seann.