Strangers help Philadelphia family after thieves steal wheelchair ramps

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Joe Dolan of South Philadelphia has seen the worst and best qualities of people in less than a week.

Last Thursday, he reported to police that someone stole aluminum wheelchair ramps his family had used for years.

His 15-year-old son Dominic has cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair to get around.

Joe and his wife Tina used the inclined ramp to help Dominic go from the family home down a set of steps to the sidewalk.

Since the initial report of the theft, Action News viewers have offered to help, including several previously used wheelchair ramps. Joe said he is overwhelmed by the offers, and plans to respond to them soon.

"It goes to show you there are many fine people in this world," said Dolan.

On the short term, Dolan is hoping one of the ramps will fit his front steps. If he does find one, he says he would consider it a loan and would give it back to the owner at some point in the future.

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Thieves steal wheelchair ramps from South Philadelphia home. Watch the report from Action News at 9 a.m. on June 15, 2019.

Dolan, though, is hoping for a permanent solution.

A GoFundMe page set up by the family raised $23,000 in two days.

Dolan hopes it will be enough to pay for a wheelchair lift for the front of the family's row home. With a lift, Dominic would not need a ramp.

Dolan said a lift would allow Dominic to maneuver from the sidewalk, "press a button," and ride up the several feet to the front door. From there Dominic would be able to wheel himself out of the lift and into the house.
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