Funds donated to replace student's stolen wheelchair - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Funds donated to replace student's stolen wheelchair

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  • WEDNESDAY, October 14, 2009

    College student's wheelchair stolen from campus

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    A disabled college student is having trouble getting around campus, after someone stole his motorized wheelchair. 
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There's good news to report about a disabled Palomar College student whose wheelchair was stolen on campus.

Since News 8 reported the story earlier this week, the community has stepped forward with offers to help.

It didn't take long for News 8 viewers to step up to the plate with offers to help 27-year-old Horus Ocampo, a Palomar College student with cerebral palsy.

Horus' $5,000 wheelchair was stolen on campus, leaving him with a replacement scooter that was difficult to maneuver.

After the story aired on News 8, the College was flooded with phone calls.

"People were outraged by the fact he had his wheelchair stolen and they wanted to help," Palomar College spokesperson Laura Gropen said.

Four callers offered to donate wheelchairs to Horus, including Father Joe from St. Vincent de Paul's. But Paul Haines, the director of the Disability Resource Center on campus, says Horus needs a custom-fitted chair.

"When you deal with a person who uses a wheelchair, someone who lives in it all the time, it's important to have the right size for them," Haines said.

In the end, two private fundraising organizations on campus came up with $10,000 to purchase Horus a new motorized wheelchair, complete with a joystick. It may take a few weeks before the chair is delivered, but in a word, Horus is overjoyed.

"I'm really grateful for all the help and all the offers. And that's all I can say. I'm so grateful for everything. Thank you," he said.

The organizations that donated the money were the Palomar College President's Associates and the Palomar College Foundation. Both groups raise funds to help Palomar College in times when budget cuts are hurting community colleges statewide.

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