By: Taylor MacPherson
A Prince Albert woman, left legless after a brutal attempt on her life, will soon receive a top-of-the-line scooter to replace her previous chair.
Marlene Bird was attacked in a Prince Albert alley in 2014. Her attacker, Leslie Black, beat her and set her clothing on fire. The attack left Bird with severe burns, partial loss of eyesight and the amputation of both of her legs.
Bird, confined to a wheelchair since the assault, was once again the victim of crime last month when her scooter was stolen from her home in Timber Bay.
Bird told paNOW she was left frustrated after the theft, and said the loss of her power chair came as a blow to her sense of independence.
“I want to go around myself instead of depending on people,” Bird said.
Lyn Brown, executive director of Spinal Cord Injury Saskatchewan, said their organization received high-end 2014 power chair earlier this week as a donation from Delisle resident Rochelle Raeber. When she saw the news that Bird’s chair was stolen, Brown said she immediately knew the new chair should go to Bird.
“We weren’t 100 per cent sure who we were going to give it to, but it was within a day or two of receiving that donation that I read the story about Marlene,” Brown said. “Then there was no longer a question as to who was going to get this scooter.”
Brown said able-bodied individuals rarely think about the everyday activities which present significant challenges to those with mobility issues. The donated chair features air-filled tires, suspension and adjustable speeds, which Brown said will help Bird to navigate the terrain around Timber Bay and improve her day-to-day quality of life.
“This will enable Marlene to be able to get around on gravel roads and other difficult terrain,” she said. “Sidewalks, roads, curbs and gravel particularly can be a significant problem, and with this particular scooter gravel roads will not be difficult for Marlene.”
The donated scooter, which is valued at more than $3,500, arrived in Prince Albert this afternoon, and will be officially presented to Bird at a later date.
Black, who has pleaded guilty to a charge of attempted murder, will receive his sentence later this month.