NORTHWOOD, Ohio — Northwood native Alivianna Gallup and her family were at a concert Friday night at the Fillmore Detroit. But when they left the concert later that evening, their wheelchair van was gone.
"It essentially is my life at this point, because I can't do anything without it," Gallup said.
Gallup deals with spinal muscular atrophy, asthma, and other illnesses, making it hard for her to get around. If she wants to go anywhere far, she needs the family van, which is wheelchair accessible.
"For us it's essential," Alivianna's father Michael said. "We get her to school with it every day. If she has problems at school, like an asthma attack, we're able to get her. For entertainment, to go places."
Michael described the feeling when he realized the van was stolen.
"Just loss. Total loss, trying to figure out what to do next."
Friday night the wind chill was in the teens. Alivianna says she risking her health in the sub freezing temperatures. Gallup's mom Beverly says employees at the nearby Fox Theatre took them in until they could find a way back to their hotel.
"They were amazing," Gallup said. "They took us in like it was nothing. Gave us seats to sit down. Water. They really took to Alivianna and was like 'no, we'll help out. Do you need anything else?' They were just amazing."
The family called police, but with no luck. They eventually got home, but Gallup says having the van back is still a priority.
"I don't know, I guess I still look through like a kid lens of like, I still want to be able to go do this and still do that," Gallup said. "I don't think I have an adult perspective. I still just would want to hang out with my friends and go to school."
But with the holiday season here, Gallup's mom is keeping it all in perspective.
"We weren't hurt, everyone was safe," Gallup said. "We welcomed that feeling of, we're all ok. But it's a heartbreaking situation trying to figure things out."
The family is asking people to keep an eye out for the vehicle in-person, or online. The license plate is HFJ 6996. If you believe you see it, you're encouraged to call police.
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