Wheelchair Stolen From Quadruple Amputee Who Swam English Channel

Monday, 12 Aug 2013 07:05 PM

By Morgan Chilson

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A quadruple amputee known for swimming the English Channel is asking thieves to return the custom-made wheelchair they stole, along with a trailer it was in.

Philippe Croizon, who became an amputee after an electrical accident in 1994, was staying with friends in northern France when thieves stole his trailer parked outside the house. He valued the wheelchair at about $26,700.

“They haven’t just stolen my wheelchair, they have robbed me of my autonomy,” Croizon said, according to Reuters. “Keep the trailer as a gift if you like, since that’s what it seems you were after, but give me back the wheelchair.”

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Croizon said that the wheelchair would be expensive to replace and it had been partly paid for by friends.

"I don't know if these people realize what they did,” he told the BBC. “Without it, I am nothing.”

Croizon became well-known when he used specially made flippers to be the first quadruple amputee to cross the English Channel, and he’s also completed swims in the Straits of Gibraltar and the Gulf of Aqaba, Reuters said.

Ability magazine reported on the resolve it took for Croizon to train and then complete four swims that connected five continents. He swam about 53 miles and spent 45 hours in the water.

“I listen to my body to see if everything is going well,” Croizan told Ability. “I think about my two boys and my partner in life, Suzana. When I feel my emotions are taking over, I begin to count my movements, ‘One, two, three four,’ then I look at the boat and repeat, ‘One, two, three, four.’”

Croizon told the magazine that he became determined to swim the Channel when he was recovering after the electrical accident that took his limbs. He saw a woman swim the Channel and decided he’d do that. Calling himself a “couch potato” before the accident, Croizon told Ability, “Two and a half months after my accident, I truly woke up and decided to live. I did this for my two sons, who need a father to guide them through life.”

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Related stories:

Double Amputee Marine’s Visit Inspires Boston Bombing Victims

Army Amputee Completes Air Assault School

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