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UPS foresight prevents potential holiday theft

Delivery thought to be stolen, safely stored in shed

ESTACADA NEWS PHOTO: EMILY LINDSTRAND - Bryten and her mom, Teryl, are looking forward to the teen's new mobility to explore places like the Portland Aquarium and Disneyland.

When he arrived at the Estacada home of Teryl Figgins right before New Years, Santa wasn't decked out in his traditional red and white suit. Instead, he looked more like a UPS driver.

Months ago, Teryl ordered her 13-year-old daughter Bryten a custom-made wheelchair that was expected to be delivered in time for Christmas. And even though the holiday would arrive on time, it appeared the wheelchair would not.

Bryten has osteogenesis imperfecta, commonly known as "brittle bone disease." Teryl estimates that Bryten breaks a bone every 20 to 25 days. Upcoming surgeries will leave Bryten in a body cast and unable to use a power chair. The new chair will help her get around more easily and allow her to participate in activities because of its flexibility and dynamic positioning.

“She has low endurance,” Teryl said. “Being upright is draining, but since this chair allows her to be reclined, it will give her the freedom to be comfortable and go out and do things.”

Bryten loves visiting OMSI and the Portland Aquarium, feeding the ducks behind the Estacada Library and going fishing at Lake Merwin in Washington.

“The chair will let her do so much more,” Teryl said. “She’s really a hands-on learner.”

Manufactured by Convaid, the custom-made wheelchair costs approximately $5,000.

On Monday, Dec. 21, Teryl and Bryten received notification from UPS that the chair had been delivered to their front porch. It was nowhere to be found, however. Fearing the chair had been stolen, the mother-daughter duo began putting the word out on Facebook in hopes of locating the chair.

But on the morning of Dec. 30, Teryl received a call from UPS, saying the package had actually been left in the Figgins’ backyard shed to prevent it from being stolen. The shed is difficult for Teryl to access, as she is also in a wheelchair.

“I’m glad they’re trained to prevent things from getting stolen,” she said. “I want them to hide the Christmas presents for me next year.”

Later that morning, UPS came to retrieve the package for them.

The company also gave the family $250 to be used on a gift for Bryten.

“It’s amazing,” Bryten said.

Teryl thinks they will likely put the money toward a conference on epilepsy, which Bryten also has, in Disneyland next summer.

One of the things she’ll remember most about this time is the support from the community. People shared her Facebook post to numerous other online groups and news outlets.

“It’s been amazing seeing the online response,” Teryl said. “Everyone helped spread the word. The story even aired on a news channel back east.” ESTACADA NEWS PHOTO: EMILY LINDSTRAND - Bryten Figgins, 13, has Osteogenesis Imperfecta, or brittle bone disease. Her new custom-made  wheelchair will allow her to more easily participate in activities.

One person’s actions in particular stand out to her.

Elizabeth Nadine, who lives in Castle Rock, Wash., has never met Teryl or Bryten but saw Teryl's Facebook post and contacted Convaid. They told her they would build a new chair for Bryten if the original one was not located.

Nadine believes it’s important to lend a helping hand.

“Now this mother has less to worry about,” she said. “That’s the way it should be.”

Teryl was touched by this action.

“I was literally in tears that someone who doesn’t even know us would take that step,” she said.

Teryl is glad to be able share the news of the wheelchair’s discovery with everyone who helped out. She’s happy things ended on a positive note.

“I never wanted to believe it was stolen,” Teryl said. “I want to believe the best about people.”

Bryten is excited to have the mystery solved as well. She’s looking forward to using the chair to explore different places.

“Let’s go to the (Portland) aquarium,” she said happily.