Community members helping replace Marshall student’s stolen bicycle seat

A Marshall student with spina bifida was left unable to get to class this week after her bicycle seat was stolen.
Published: Mar. 4, 2022 at 7:34 PM EST
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HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) - Thursday night, WSAZ aired a story on Marshall freshman Katie Willis, who was born with spina bifida, a condition leaving her unable to walk very far, so she uses a bicycle to get to class.

She keeps the bike locked up outside her dorm, but Sunday evening, she came outside and saw the seat had been stolen.

Physically-challenged Marshall student’s bicycle seat stolen

“I was angry,” Willis 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.

After seeing Willis’s story, a woman felt compelled to make a difference and showed up Friday morning at Jeff’s Bike Shop in Huntington to donate a seat to replace the one that had been stolen.

Shop owner Jeff Joy had seen the story, as well. He had the bike delivered to his shop Friday and is working on replacing the seat free of charge.

“I just thought I could help out,” Joy said. “It looked like she needed help. When I got to work today, somebody was here ahead of me who donated a seat, and we’ve got to get a seat post for it. That’s what we’re working on now.”

Willis says it was moving to learn people she’d never met wanted to help her.

“It means a lot to me, it really does,” she said. “It just shows there are still good people in this world.”

“The community pulls together,” Joy said. “We like to help people out. It’s the least we can do.”

Joy says these types of thefts are not rare.

“We hear about it a lot in town,” he said, “people stealing things like that if you’ve got something on your bike that’s quick release like a seat or headlight, something like that that’s easy to take.”

Joy says they’ve ordered a seat post required to attach the replacement seat, and they’re hoping to have the bike back to Willis within a few days.

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