NANAIMO — Patrick Aleck is well-known in the Nanaimo community for his beaming smile, positive outlook and desire to lift up those around him. Now, loved ones are hoping the community can lift him up after a heartless theft.
Aleck's mobility scooter was stolen from outside his home at the corner of Bowen Rd. and Meredith Rd. sometime between Jan. 8 and Jan. 9. He has cerebral palsy, struggles to walk and uses the scooter for critical activities like getting groceries.
Jason Elias, Aleck's brother-in-law, said the 31-year-old is keeping true to his character and trying not to let the theft get him down.
"He's a really laid back guy. He's saying 'whatever happens, happens' kind of thing. But he has the whole community behind his back so that's been humbling," Elias said.
He said Aleck has a magnetic personality and a passion for helping people.
Aleck is a fixture at community events and devotes his time to working with youth, teaching lessons of perseverance and helping Indigenous youth find their voice. He sings and composes his own traditional songs to instill cultural pride in future generations.
In a Facebook conversation with NanaimoNewsNOW, Aleck said he's in shock over the ordeal, noting he relies on the scooter every day. He said the reaction to online posts about the theft has been overwhelming.
"I am feeling loved," Aleck said.
Local comedian Peter Hudson said he met Aleck several years ago through mutual work in the community and has immeasurable respect for the young man.
"He was told at a young age he would never walk. Yet here he is. He has used his so-called handicap as a positive to help Indigenous youth and others by sharing what he's been through. He's survived a lot of trauma," Hudson said.
"He's bringing a message to show people that nobody can hold you back and you can do what people say you can't."
Hudson said he was heartbroken to hear of the theft and is hoping if the original scooter can't be found, the community can help find an answer. As of late Thursday afternoon Hudson said someone pledged to donate a scooter, but it's unclear if it will be suitable.
A GoFundMe page was also launched to raise funds for a new scooter.
Nanaimo RCMP confirmed they are investigating the matter.
Anyone with information is asked to call police or Crime Stoppers.
On Twitter: @domabassi
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