Editor’s Note: The information for this story comes from the Miracle League of Union County Facebook page. The MLUC is currently trying to raise $10,000 by July 31 in order to receive a $75,000 grant from the Timken Foundation that will help cover the cost of construction of an all-inclusive ALL Star Playground at the Timken Sports Complex. ALL Star Playground will be designed to enable those with disabilities and their families to enjoy activities that others take for granted. This is the story of some of the people who are trying to help the MLUC raise the funds to build the playground and who will benefit from it.
UNION — The idea of all children and adults regardless of the challenges they face being able enjoy a day at the park with their families like any other is what is driving the Miracle League of Union County’s efforts to build an all-inclusive ALL Star Playground at the Timken Sports Complex.
These are the stories of some of those individuals and their families and their efforts to help the MLUC raise the funds to build the playground and what it will mean to them.
It has been said that it is better to give than receive and high school graduate Hayden O’Shields is taking that to heart as he plans to give the $700 in graduation gifts he has received to help the MLUC with the ALL Star Playground. This is his story.
Hayden O’Shields was a member of the Union County High School Class of 2016, graduating with a Keys Occupational Certificate. He plans to attend The College of Educational Enrichment at the University of South Carolina Upstate.
Hayden decided early on that he wanted to do something that would really make a difference with all the money he was getting as graduation gifts. He knew that The Miracle League of Union County was trying super hard to raise funds for their all-inclusive ALL Star Playground.
Hayden has always had a heart for giving of himself, his time, and his money to help others. Therefore, Hayden has decided to give all of the money he gets as graduation gifts to help meet the goal for The All-Star All-Inclusive Playground. At present, he has $700 to donate.
“It warms my heart to give this money, and I consider it the best gift I could ever get myself. I just pray it will encourage other people to do the same,” Hayden said.
Hayden hopes to find a part-time job. During deer season, he can often be found working at O’Shields’ Deer Processing. Naturally, he plans to continue his favorite extracurricular activities, as a cheerleader on the Twist & Shout Dream Team, and playing ball with the Majors teams with The Miracle League of Union County. He will continue to volunteer at Jacob’s Well in Lockhart, SC with Jubilee Ministries. He will be joining Area 12 Special Olympics Swim Team, and will compete in hopes of reaching the State level competition. He also will be participating in the Halter Therapeutic Riding Program in Spartanburg, SC. He of course, plans to spend lots of time with family, friends, and at church.
This is the story of David Price and what the playground will mean to him and so many others. The story is told by his mother Tonya Sullivan
David has cerebral palsy and pachygyria. He has challenges with walking and balancing. Having an all inclusive all-star playground gives him the opportunity to play with his sister Kendele and other children.
David is 4 years old. He is a sweet, intelligent boy who is part of Miracle League baseball in Union. He has been playing since he was 2 years old. David enjoys hitting and fielding the ball with the help of his “buddy.” Having the Miracle League baseball league has helped David to know when he becomes older that anything is possible with God. Just because David has challenges does not mean he cannot participate with other children and do the same stuff they do. David is a strong participant who loves hitting home runs and getting people out.
Getting this new play ground will be great for David and all of the community. It goes to show we do care about them and everybody will be able to play together as a family.
This is the story of Lilly Shetley and how the playground will benefit her and her family and the community. The story is told by her mother, Jennifer.
We are very excited to be getting an all inclusive playground in our community. This playground will not only benefit our special needs children and adults, but it will be beneficial to their families as well.
Our daughter, Lilly, can play on a good bit of regular playground equipment but there are a few things that she can’t play on without help. She really gets frustrated when she can’t do what everyone else is doing. There are some instances when I try to help her but it can get a little dangerous and unsafe. Having this inclusive playground will allow her to play on equipment where she can have the confidence that she’s going to be safe.
Working in the school system I see many special needs children who just want the same opportunities as other children. Union has made great strides at giving our children these opportunities.
Our special needs children and adults (and their families) deserve this opportunity. We can’t wait to see all the smiles on our kids’ (Union County’s kids) faces when they’re able to play on equipment that they’ve only been able to dream about! Lilly is excited that some of her friends from school who can’t play on regular playground equipment will now be able to play like she does.
The Miracle League of Union County is currently working to raise $10,000 by July 31. If successful in doing so, it will receive $75,000 from the Timken Foundation. The Foundation previously allocated $75,000 to the MLUC for the construction and promised another $75,000 if the MLUC could raise the matching amount by July 31. The playground is projected to cost $350,000 to build and the second grant is crucial to the MLUC getting the required amount to pay for construction.
If you would like to help the MLUC make its goal of $10,000 by July 31 call 864-466-7879, contact an MLUC Board member, or visit The Miracle League of Union County Facebook page or website www.themiracleleagueofunioncounty.org.
The Miracle League has a PayPal account through its website. Persons wanting to make a donation can do so through that account.
This story courtesy of the Miracle League of Union County.