Philippe Croizon, an amputee swimmer who swam the English Channel, has made a public appeal after thieves stole his custom-designed wheelchair.
The 45-year-old, who was the first quadruple amputee to ever make the journey across the water, was on holiday with his friends in Dieppe, northern France, when the incident occurred.
Croizon told various French media outlets, “They haven’t just stolen my wheelchair, they’ve stolen my independence.”
He went on to add that he was angry and sad about the theft, which took place on Thursday evening when the trailer it was being stored in was taken.
Croizon remarked “I don’t know if these people realize what they did. Without it, I am nothing.” He then made a heart-felt plea for the robbers to come to their senses, and return the wheelchair to him, stating, “Give me back my wheelchair, give me back my independence.”
The Frenchman also revealed that it’s too expensive to be replaced, because the original was financed by friends, however he refused to reveal how much it was actually worth.
Mr. Croizon lost his limbs in 1994 whilst he was employed as a steelworker at Fonderie du Poitou, all because of an electrical accident. He was looking to adjust a TV aerial on his roof,when he stuck struck by a charge of 20,000 volts.
Twenty minutes passed before a neighbor recognized the tragedy had occurred and could call the authorities. By the time he had been taken to a hospital, doctors were forced to remove his left arm above the elbow, his right arm below the elbow, his right leg above the knee, and then his left leg, even though they had previously believed it could have been saved.
Inspired by a female channel swimmer, Croizon has gone on to compete in a number of nautical events across the world and has been roundly praised for his efforts.
[Image via aldegonde/Shutterstock]