A $5000 anonymous contribution in support of the current Everyone’s Playground Comfort Station fund drive was presented to 8 year old Nola Byrne, born with spastic triple cerebral palsy, and a frequent visitor to the specifically constructed safe space play facility designed for those with special needs or other disabilities. The Playground, opened in 2019, has become an extraordinarily popular resource for area residents as well as a destination point for families traveling throughout the central Susquehanna Valley community. The Byrne family, from southern Shores, North Caroline, always include ample time for Nola to enjoy the specifically designed all inclusive play equipment when they visit.
“Everyone’s Playground is the epitome of an all inclusive playground” said Kellie Flock Byrne, mother of Nola. “Literally, from the ground up, it is designed to make sure that individuals of all abilities can play and be active. The smooth surfacing, adaptive equipment, and bright colors provide a physical and sensory experience that is typically inaccessible to children like our Nola. Each time we visit her grandparents, Mike and Kathi Flock of Middleburg, we look forward to taking her there.”
John Fischer, a member of the local Andy Russell Charitable Advisory Council, acknowledged the generosity of the donor and commented that the contribution will be used to help construct the new Comfort Station/Rest Room to be placed next to the playground. “Many of those who frequent the playground, especially parents and caregivers of those with special needs, have requested the addition of accessible restroom facilities. Everyone’s Playground has been an overwhelmingly welcome resource for our community and beyond, and adding an accessible restroom will make the playground more attractive to the families who use it. The magnanimous gift of our friend, who wishes to remain anonymous, significantly helps us in our effort to raise our $80,000 fund drive.”
Added Kellie Flock Byrne “Most parents take for granted that their children will be able to run and play everywhere they go. Shawn and I can’t do that. We have to pre plan and map things out to make sure Nola will be able to participate in an activity. Often, we are unable to take her places because they just aren’t accessible. It is difficult for her to watch other kids play, while she has to sit out. Places like Everyone’s Playground put children on an even playing field. Differences in ability fade away for a bit, and they can just be kids. As parents (and grandparents), this is priceless.”
John Fischer noted it is anticipated that by late fall construction might be able to take place. “We’ve been impacted, as have many others, by the reality of Corona-19, the challenge of raising funds under current circumstances, and the increasing availability and cost of materials. With this latest gift of $5000 we take a significant step forward and we hope others will also help regardless of amount. It’s a worthy project and absolutely benefits those who will most benefit.”