Thief strikes Special Olympian's dreams

Keirra Stoneham
Keirra Stoneham's bowling gear was stolen from her family's White Rock carport – two weeks before she is to compete in the Special Olympics Canada 2014 Summer Games.
— image credit: Tracy Holmes

Keirra Stoneham isn’t fazed when it comes to being the centre of attention.

It’s no surprise, given how often the Special Olympian has brought in bowling trophies to show her friends and support circle at Semiahmoo House Society.

“She’s very, very proud of her trophies,” said Tiffanny Thomson, a support worker at Semiahmoo House, which provides programs and support for adults with developmental disabilities.

“Everybody supports her.”

But as the 26-year-old looks forward to competing in 10-pin bowling for Team B.C. at next month’s Special Olympics Canada 2014 Summer Games (July 8-12) – she qualified by earning gold at last year’s provincials – her game took a hit: someone stole her customized gear.

Leslie Stoneham said the theft of her daughter’s bowling balls, tote bag and shoes hasn’t sunk in yet for Keirra – but she’s sure it soon will.

“I think it’s going to hit her when we pack up the gear (for the Games),” said Leslie. “She’s going to say, ‘it’s not mine’.”

Keirra has been bowling for about 12 years.

This year, for her birthday and Christmas, her parents bought her all brand-new equipment; from black, patent-leather bowling shoes adorned with flames, to two balls – one orange, one purple – with custom-drilled finger holes.

Leslie said she can’t fathom why anyone would have taken it from their White Rock carport, where the gear was stowed out of sight.

“Why would you steal bowling gear?” Leslie said. “It’s pretty pathetic.”

She figures the culprit struck sometime Monday or Tuesday. They also took a motion light, she said.

Brianna Hopaluk, co-ordinator of Semiahmoo House’s day program, described the theft as “horrible.”

Keirra talks about her bowling “all the time,” Hopaluk said.

“It’s important to her to be part of a team,” she said.

With Keirra “extremely stoked” for the Games – she is one of two bowlers who will represent Surrey – Leslie said she is reaching out in the hopes whoever took the gear will see fit to return it.

“This is huge for a Special Olympian,” she said. “We need it back for her to participate at her best.”

Anyone with information on the gear or who took it may  contact the White Rock RCMP detachment at 778-593-3600.


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