Faced with a nervous system disorder, compromised immune system and numerous orthopedic complications, Mia has a hard time accessing traditional playgrounds. She and her family must travel across the Bay Area to visit accessible, all abilities play areas.
“It has been our daughter’s wish to have an accessible playground close to home; where she could play, explore and just be a kid in her wheelchair with all her friends and family, regardless of their abilities and special needs,” said Mia’s mom, Emelyn.
Thanks to the amazing community of Make-A-Wish supporters like you, Mia’s dream is becoming a reality.
The Hayward Area Recreation District (H.A.R.D.) Board of Directors has voted unanimously to change the name the Ruus Park playground area in Hayward, California to, "Mia's Dream Come True: Where the Heart of the Bay Comes to Play." The playground will also be designed to feature soft materials and accessible equipment, such as accessible swings and roundabouts for spinning, making it a fun, unrestricted area for children with disabilities.
“We are looking forward to the creation/implementation of an ALL ACCESSIBLE playground in our hometown and avoiding traveling across the bay just so Mia can do a simple thing like play on a structure with her friends,” said Emelyn. “What started as an idea on a napkin at a Starbucks has turned into a concept, soon to be turned reality so Mia and other children like Mia may enjoy it for many years to come.”
“Applying for a wish through Make-A-Wish has improved the way we look at life, as we were granted an opportunity to implement a dream we never knew would actually become reality,” said Emelyn. “It has brought awareness to our families and community, educating them to believe that anything is possible regardless of disability. We are looking forward to putting our hometown back on the map, in hopes that many will travel to Mia's Dream Come True.”
Now that the playground redesign has been approved, next steps will be for the parks district to secure a conceptual design bid and create a funding and fundraising plan.
“In receiving Mia’s wish, we have learned that hope does exist, and we are grateful that this playground could provide Mia with a legacy so that other families and children will not remain isolated in their home restricted by a disability,” said Emelyn.