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NBC4 Viewer Donates $10K After Wheelchair Stolen

Mialgros, or "miracle," was using a skateboard to get around after the wheelchair was stolen.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    NBC4 Viewer Donates 10K After 4-Year-Olds Wheelchair Stolen

    After a specialized wheelchair was stolen from a 4-year-old girl born without legs, an NBC4 viewer came forward to donate $10,000 after seeing her story. Robert Kovacik reports for the NBC4 News at 11 on Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2015. (Published Thursday, Nov. 26, 2015)

    After a 4-year-old California girl named Milagros, or "miracle" in Spanish, who was born without legs had her wheelchair stolen days before Thanksgiving, an NBC4 viewer came to the rescue, donating $10,000 for a new specialized wheelchair.

    The viewer called the assignment desk and said that after hearing Milagros' story on NBC4, she just had to help.

    "What better gift can I give myself for the holidays than to reach out to help this child?" Joyce Brandman, the donor, said.

    Brandman handed over a check for $10,000 from the nonprofit Saul Brandman Foundation so that the family could buy a new specialized wheelchair built especially for Milagros.

    Milagros' mother, Rosa Perez, was understandably overcome with gratitude.

    Tears streamed down her face as she viewed the check.

    Brandman said the experience made her Thanksgiving that much better.

    "You are remarkable," Brandman said in a message to the family. "God is watching over you. I hope I am your angel this holiday season, and I admire you very much for what you are doing for this child."

    Police also came together to brighten the family's spirits with a Thanksgiving dinner in addition to hunting down the person who took it.

    "A $10,000 check - I mean, that's amazing," said Nelson Menendez of the Santa Ana Police Department, who assisted when the check was presented to the family. "You can see how humble these people live, and they can't afford [a $10,000 wheelchair.] Who can?"

    Milagros' family pleaded to the public for help earlier Wednesday to get back Milagros' motorized wheelchair, which is the miracle girl's main way of getting to school.

    Milagros was born without legs, a heart condition and other ailments.

    Despite the theft of her wheelchair, Milagros was upbeat, using a skateboard to get around.

    Her mother Rosa Perez, however, could not control her sorrow as she explained how the expensive wheelchair was stolen from the family's yard in Santa Ana Saturday night.

    The wheelchair was behind a gate that couldn't be locked because it is a common area in the apartment complex in the 400 block of South Flower Street.

    Santa Ana police were doing what they could to recover the wheelchair, but they didn't have surveillance images or any descriptions of who may have taken it.

    "There is no real use unless you have the handicap she has, so our guess is somebody is trying to either pawn it off or melt it down for cash," Corp. Anthony Bertagna of Santa Ana police said.

    Officers said they were taking the theft personally.

    Before the donation, the department banded together to donate a Christmas tree with all the trimmings to the family, courtesy of Home Depot.

    "Gracias," Milagros said, thanking the officers.

    The officers went the extra mile, donating a full Thanksgiving dinner to the family as well.

    Anyone with information on the crime can contact Santa Ana police at  (714) 245-8029.

    Officers set up a fund for Milagros and her family, and anyone who would like to help can make checks payable to: S.A.P.O.A. Widows & Orphans Fund, Memo: S.A. Resident Rosa Perez

    Mailing address: S.A.P.O.A. 1607 N. Sycamore, Santa Ana, California 92701. 

    If you would like to donate to her family's GoFundMe account, it can be found here.