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Family wheelchair team ‘humbled’ by help

  • Triathlon crash: Stephan Couture and daughter Chloe (File photograph by Akil Simmons)
  • Stephan Couture and his daughter, Chloe (File photograph)

A father-and-daughter wheelchair team who crashed out of MS Amlin World Triathlon Bermuda last month have inspired a fundraising campaign.

Stephan Couture hopes to be able to buy a new $18,000 wheelchair for his 13-year-old daughter, Chloe, after it was written off in a crash on Park Road, Hamilton, during the race.

Mr Couture suffered a broken rib and Chloe, who has cerebral palsy, suffered minor injuries in the crash during the races on April 27.

The two, who compete as Team Ladybugs, said they had been overcome by the outpouring of support from Bermuda since the accident.

Mr Couture said people and organisations had asked how they could donate towards a new bike and wheelchair to get Chloe back on the road.

He said: “We’re touched by the kindness we’ve experienced from so many people in Bermuda.

“Several people have asked us to set up a fundraising webpage so that they can contribute to Chloe’s new racing chair.

“It’s unexpected and heart-warming. We’re humbled. We would love Bermuda’s help, thank you, we are most grateful.”

The GoFundMe page had raised $1,700 of its $18,000 goal by yesterday.

The pair compete in triathlons in a custom-designed bike and wheelchair combination.

Mr Couture and his wife, Diane, who have both worked with disabled people, adopted Chloe when she was five after they read about her in a church bulletin.

Mr Couture said his daughter had a passion for the triathlon, including racing, training, the speed and the outdoors, that it was “her life”.

He said: “Regardless of the time or the weather, she asks to go out in her racing chair DD1 — Daddy, Daughter One, as she calls it.

“She just wants to be out, and it warms our hearts that after every outing she comes home singing and smiling.”

Team Ladybugs’ mission is to raise awareness of disabled people so that they can race in events safely with the right equipment and experience the excitement of competition.

The couple also help other families take part in events and fund all of their own equipment.

Mr Couture said: “We receive no funding from national sporting bodies because of our very specialised needs and we lack the high-profile races that usually attracts media coverage.”

But he added: “It is a wonderful feeling knowing that we have made a difference in Chloe and other people’s lives.”