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Physically-challenged Marshall student’s bicycle seat stolen

Freshman Katie Willis has spina bifida and can't get to class without her bike.
Published: Mar. 3, 2022 at 10:23 PM EST
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HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) - A physically-challenged student at Marshall University was left unable to get to class this week after a theft on campus.

Marshall freshman Katie Willis was born with spina bifida, a condition that leaves her unable to walk very far, so she uses a bicycle to get to class.

“I can’t get around campus without that,” Willis, who’s from Wayne, said.

She keeps the bike locked up outside her dorm. Around 6 p.m. Sunday, she came outside to head to the cafeteria but saw the seat had been removed.

“They took the entire thing the seat attaches to,” she said. “I was thinking maybe one of my friends took it as a joke.”

As time passed, she realized it was no prank.

“I was angry,” she said. “Out of all the bikes, why mine, because I’m disabled, and I get around campus with that bike.”

Since the theft, she’s been unable to get to class or to the cafeteria. Her friend and fellow Marshall freshman Kai Kandora has been bringing her meals.

“I just contacted my teachers and told them I can’t get to class, and they understand,” Willis said.

“She’s always so sweet,” Kandora said, “and it’s so unfortunate something as awful as this had to happen to her.”

Marshall police chief Jim Terry says bikes and bike accessories have been known to be targeted by thieves on campus, and it’s recommended students remove detachables as a precaution and register their bikes with the university.

Willis says it never occurred to her a seat would be something a thief would even think about wanting.

“I don’t understand why they did it,” she said.

Willis says her mother will be getting a replacement seat for the bike.

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