John Mercer

John Mercer

Specially equipped computer stolen from blind man

Langley couple hoping to raise $1,500 replace laptop taken during midday break-in.

  • Mar. 4, 2015 5:00 a.m.

Long-time Langley resident John Mercer has training as a small engine mechanic, is part of Langley’s Ham radio club and has been seen walking all over town wearing his yellow high reflector vest for years.

The Langley City senior is also an avid reader, often reading up to 16 books a month.

Mercer, 65, is also legally blind and has been his whole life. So when his laptop was stolen from his home at the Langley Kinsmen complex behind Safeway on Feb. 25, it was a devastating blow to a very full life.

“I love going on YouTube and listening to the sounds of tractors and diesel engines roar,” said Mercer.

He also loves listening to music through his computer.

His wife Doreen said the thief came into their home between 2:10 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. when their daughter was in her room.

“She has COPD and asthma so she coughed and that scared the burglar off,” said Doreen.

All the thief managed to grab was John’s laptop, a deactivated bank card and some perfume.

Mercer’s silver HP laptop is equipped with a speech program called JAWS and has other special programs, including his book listening program that allows him to download books.

“To replace the laptop and the programs would cost us around $1,500. It’s money we don’t have,” said Doreen.

His stepdaughter, Helen Avery, started a GoFundMe account and already $175 has been raised, with $100 coming from their granddaughter’s maid of honour and another friend from Australia.

Mercer needs a laptop big enough to have a number pad on the right-hand side of the keyboard.

The GoFundMe account can be found here.