Monday, June 8, 2009

Zachary's Playground

We went to Zachary's Playground last week with Zachary and his mom and Sisters. I love going with them because I enjoy seeing the JOY on Zach's face every time he is there and can move freely about the playground. Zach has Pelizaeus Merzbacher Disease (PMD). Around six years ago, Natalie (Zach's mom) and I were sitting in my basement talking while our kids played and she had just returned home from her sister-in-law's house on the east coast and said they went to an accessible playground there. She said, "I'm going to build one here." Chills went up my spine and I knew she was going to make it happen. She started a non-profit organization called Unlimited Play in 2003. It was an uphill battle. I saw her cry, listened to her frustrations, watched for years as she did fundraising, was amazed at her strength, and I tried to help out mainly by watching her kids and being a "sounding board" when needed. Finally, in April of 2007, it was completed. They had a ribbon cutting ceremony. The kids crowded around and as soon as the ribbon was cut, the kids flooded on to the playground. It was incredible! I will never forget the feelings I had that day. (I was 8 months pregnant and sweating profusely, but more than that, I was overcome with joy that it was done and everyone loved it! Natalie and Todd's dream of having an accessible playground for their son became a reality! All their hard work year after year finally paid off. There were tons of kids there and many of them had disabilities. What a great place to break down the barriers that society tends to put up. We are all God's children and each one of us is here for a purpose. Children need to be accepting and respectful of each other's differences and also see that they all have similarities as well. Zachary's Playground is the busiest playground in the area. The kids love it. There is so much room to run around and there is so much to do. It is truly a remarkable playground. I am so proud of Natalie and am amazed at what she has accomplished over the years. I am grateful to have her for my friend. I also feel very honored to know and associate with Zach. He is truly one of God's choice spirits. You can't help but feel the spirit when in his presence. He has such a love for life and all of God's creations. He brings JOY into every situation. I also love his sisters, Brianna and Cassi. Brianna and Lindsay have been best friends since they have been in diapers. We feel blessed to know the Blakemore's. I have put a link to a video about the playground. Hopefully they will be able to build more playgrounds throughout the area.

The Waterplay Section


1 comment:

Amy R said...

This post made me all teary. What a great thing she did & it's fun to hear the story from your perspective.