JACKSON HEIGHTS, Queens — Life is tough for 18-year-old Michelle Molina.
She doesn’t speak, she suffers from scoliosis and a rare neurological disorder known as Rett syndrome.
On Christmas night, sometime between 9 p.m. and 8:39 the following morning, someone stole her $6,000 specialized wheelchair, which was chained to a pipe outside her family’s Jackson Heights home.
Michelle’s mother is rightfully distraught.
“She cant understand how anyone would take it when they they didn’t need it,” Michelle’s twin sister, Giselle, told PIX11, after translating for her mother who speaks mostly Spanish. “She felt really overwhelmed and cried a lot because it’s something my sister depends on a lot."
Six months ago, Michelle’s mother asked the landlord if she could keep the wheelchair outside since it was too heavy to carry up to the family’s second-floor apartment on 77th Street, never imagining a thief would clip the chain.
The wheelchair is specifically designed for Michelle’s needs, but her family says she still keeps a smile on her face.
“She’s optimistic person. She is always very happy,” Giselle added.
But her family worries that Michelle won’t be able to attend school when it reopens after the holiday break next Wednesday because only her specialized wheelchair supports her head properly, which allows her to take the bus.
“It would be nice if it could be returned," Giselle told PIX11 News. "We really need it."