A BIKE bought to raise charity cash in memory of a brave schoolboy who lost his battle with a rare blood cancer has been stolen by a heartless thief.
Gary Sullivan bought the £700 gun metal-grey Cube Hybrid mountain bike to take part in a coast-to-coast ride to raise money for the two charities which helped and fulfilled the dreams of his terminally ill son Dan Sullivan before he died in October last year.
The 46-year-old bought the bike in April, but his training for the big ride – scheduled for this summer – was put on the back-burner when Dan’s condition deteriorated.
However, when Gary decided to re-start his training on Saturday morning, he was devastated to discover that the side door of his garage in Park Road, Hartlepool, had been smashed open and his bike had been cut from its security chains and stolen.
The thief had also snatched an £800 boiler part which had been stored in the garage while Gary, and his wife Gillian Sullivan, 45, cared for their son who was fighting acute myeloid leukaemia.
Today Gillian said the burglary has left the family devastated as they were hoping to raise as much money as possible for Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary, which helped to treat Dan, as well as the charity Believe In Magic, which set up the youngster’s dream meeting with popstar Jessie J.
She told the Mail: “It’s so upsetting to think that someone has stolen this bike because of the purpose it was bought for.
“We’ve had a couple of rubbish years and we were hoping this year might go without event, but then this happens.
“My husband had put his training on hold while Dan was really ill and he said that once Christmas was out of the way he was going to start again.
“He went out to get the bike out at about 10am on Saturday only to find that someone had stolen it.
“It destroys your faith in people. There are some lovely, genuine people in the town and we’ve had a lot of support over Dan.
“But then something like this happens and it knocks you back.”
Gillian, also mum to Anthony, 27, Luke, 21, twins Carl and Lewis, 17, and 15-year-old Conor, said the thieves had scaled a neighbours’ wall by using a chair as a makeshift step on the Sullivan’s side of the wall.
It is believed they carried out the theft some time between Friday night and Saturday morning, possibly around 4.50am.
She urged anyone with any information about bike or the component from the boiler to get in touch with the police.
A spokeswoman for Cleveland Police said officers have arrested a 37-year-old man on suspicion of burglary and have released him on bail pending further inquiries.
And she echoed Gillian’s appeal for witnesses or anyone who is offered the goods for sale to get in touch.
Dan was diagnosed with the aggressive form of leukaemia in May last year.
He battled the disease and put up with gruelling rounds of chemotherapy before he lost his fight for life, aged seven.
Anyone with any information should contact Hartlepool CID on 101.