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Whistler helps mend boy's 'broken heart' after his bike was stolen

Donations pour in for 10-year-old after letter to the community goes viral

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While most kids were still testing out their new toys, Whistler's Carson Bohn spent his Boxing Day a little differently.

"He's been writing letters all day today to thank everybody," said Carson's mom, Jamie Williams. The 10-year-old has plenty to be thankful for after the community pulled together to make his Christmas a little brighter following the theft of his mountain bike earlier this month.

Bohn was outside playing on Dec. 9 when he noticed his Rocky Mountain Flatline Pro missing from under the deck of his Whiski Jack home. He was devastated.

"Carson's not a very emotional child, so he doesn't get upset very easily," Williams explained, 'but he was very upset and very sad."

Williams encouraged her son to make the most of a bad situation, and got him to write an open letter to the community asking for the return of his bike. With the help of a social-media savvy family friend, Bohn's letter was posted to a number of popular local online forums. Before long, his letter went viral.

"I was really surprised at how many people wanted to actually help me and how fast the letter spread around," said Bohn. "I was really grateful."

The family was soon fielding dozens of emails and messages offering help, and they set up an account online to help raise money to replace Bohn's bike. Pro mountain biker Rémy Métailler donated clothes and gear, fresh off a European tour stop. Local mechanic Ben Arnott donated a pair of specialty tires. Resident John Evans, meanwhile, handed over an old bike frame and spare parts for Bohn to work on.

"It was really overwhelmingly kind of people," Williams said.

But it was a local mountain bike rep that would ensure Bohn woke up with a smile on Christmas morning. After reading Bohn's letter, a rep for GT Bicycles offered the family a discounted demo bike that won't be available in Canada until next year.

Needless to say, Bohn was taken aback by Whistler's generosity.

"I was just so surprised," he said. "It's kind of hard to describe how I was feeling when I saw the bike. How did this come true?"

For the family, who recently moved to Whistler from Victoria, the overwhelming response to Bohn's ordeal really showed the resort's true colours.

"I can't believe the community we just moved into cared so much that a 10-year-old's little heart was broken," Williams said. "It's not broken anymore."

The community's kindness also got Bohn thinking about how he could give back to those in need. A goalie for the Whistler Winterhawks, he plans to donate some of his old gear in the New Year.

"I don't know that I'll ever be able to repay how I felt, but at least I'll be able to do something," Bohn said, who took the chance to send out one last message to the community.

"I just want to say to everyone: Thank you and if anything ever goes stolen, just think that that person is probably less fortunate than you and just keep your chin up and you'll hopefully get helped out."

So far, $890 of the $1,000 asking price has been raised for the new bike. View the campaign and donate at: www.gofundme.com/bike-for-carson-for-christmas.

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