A well-known former B.C. fitness trainer is struggling to deal with a devastating crime.
Mike Hamill was left a paraplegic in 2017 after his fishing boat hit a humpback whale in Haida Gwaii.
He and his friends have spent the past few years and nearly $9,000 building him a special wheelchair hoist so he could continue to boat and fish.
But it was stolen early Tuesday morning, along with a number of other items, from Hamill’s secure underground parkade in Ladner.
Surveillance video did capture the truck the thieves used, but the licence plate had been removed.
“I feel extremely violated, like everybody would be,” Hamill told Global News on Thursday. “But the dream has now disappeared. The dream of me getting on my boat.
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“Just the cost that these fellows and gals went to work on — you just can’t replace it.”
Read more:
‘A terrible nightmare: B.C. man left a paraplegic after boat collides with humpback in Haida Gwaii
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Before his accident, Hamill worked as a trainer, even attracting celebrity clients such as Clint Eastwood and Tom Berenger.
But above all, he loved fishing.
“That was my pastime to really enjoy myself,” he said. “Get out to the ocean, get out to the river — just the freedom of boating when you get out there.”
On June 25, 2017, Hamill and two friends had just finished four days of fishing and were headed back to their lodge when their boat hit a humpback whale that was breaching just outside Naden Harbour.
We were sitting facing the captain at the bow of the boat when there was this hard hit. A wham, Hamill told Global News in 2017.
I went straight up and did a flip in the air, came down and ended up as part of the console of the boat.
Years of hospital visits and rehabilitation followed, but Hamill was determined to enjoy his favourite hobby once again.
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Now, he is now back to square one.
He said he and his friends hope the surveillance video will lead to the thieves being caught or at least to the recovery of the hoist.
“My dream is to get back on my boat (and) go fishing,” Hamill said.
The group has also started a GoFundMe page to raise money for a replacement.
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