Yesterday I had the honor of attending an executive meeting at Nemours A.I. duPont Hospital for Children (otherwise known here as "Gavin's Hospital!"). They invited me so they could show me their plans for the All Abilities Playground. First of all, I'm still getting over the fact that they invited me to propose their ideas... to me. Say what? If you ever wondered how much of a "family atmosphere" this hospital embodies - this should clear things up. Here I am - a Mom of a FORMER patient. Sure - I helped raise a lot of money for this playground, but we no longer have a child that uses their hospital. Yet they still insist on including me every step of the way and honoring Gavin in everything they do. It's amazing to me.
So, here's the deal. My dreams came true when they told me that the current playground will eventually be leveled and a brand new playground will be built. I am so happy about this. But you know, like all good things, it will take some time. The proposed future playground could be two, maybe three, years away. (More on that later) A disappointment, but knowing that the new playground is going to be incredible - and attached to the hospital so you can walk out the door and be ON the playground - and done well... it sounds like it will be worth the wait.
In the interim, they have some great ideas to improve the existing playground while we wait. But more importantly, so the KIDS don't have to wait anymore. There is nothing that breaks my heart more than thinking that any child is sitting on the sidelines because they can't access a playground at their own hospital. Or worse, that a parent avoids the playground so the child doesn't know that they're missing out. (That's what I did for a long time with Gavin and Brian - I'd pull a "look at the bird!" and point to the right as we passed the playground on our left.)
Here are the pieces that they chose for the existing playground. These pieces will be moved to the future playground once it's built!!
You have to check out the video to see this thing! I've never seen anything like it.
The best part is - kids can wheel right up in their wheelchair on a ramp!
Gavin would have LOVED this.
Curved Balance Beam
Harness Bucket Swing Seats
They are also planning on adding new spongy flooring so it's easier for all to move around on the playground. I was so happy to hear this.
The equipment should be installed on the playground by mid-October. Yippee!!!!!!! I'm sure that I don't have to remind all of you... YOU helped make this happen. I'm so grateful.
Now we sit on our hands and wait for two to three years for the masterpiece to be finished. My dream is slowly becoming a reality. One of the executives told me that whenever anyone mentions this playground...or the future plans for the playground...Gavin's name comes up. This has become a labor of love to, in some ways, honor him. So yes... we'll just sit on our hands and wait it out.
I'm not very good at sitting on my hands... or waiting. Or watching KIDS wait who, let's face it, have to deal with enough.
Me thinks I have some scheming to do...
Who's in with me?
P.S. - If you are interested in helping move things along, you can donate directly to the hospital specifically for the playground through THIS link.