St. Charles Parish Mother Builds Inclusive Park
A Saint Charles Parish mother has made it her mission to build a park accessible to all. She’s inspired by her 20-month-old son Benjamin who has been diagnosed with a rare condition.
Hillary Sirmon is a supermom. She has two little girls ages five and three and a one-year-old boy who is fighting an extremely rare genetic condition.
“Having a child with a rare condition you just feel helpless. This will feel like I’ve actually been able to help Benjamin,” says Sirmon.
Benjamin was diagnosed with Centronuclear Myopathy. His condition has no cure. Benjamin lives on life support, and his life expectancy is less than 10 years.
“We go day by day and treat the symptoms and we just live life like he’s going to be with us forever, but make the most of every day that we have with him and the girls,” says Sirmon.
Sirmon wants Benjamin to enjoy life and part of that is playing at the park, but most aren’t designed for kids with disabilities. Soon Sirmon hopes to change that. She’s gotten St. Charles Parish to donate East Bank Bridge Park in Destrehan. The parish is also paying for a foundation, and in about a year she hopes to bring Benjamin and his sisters to a new inclusive playground.
She’s calling the initiative Miracles to Milestones.
“It started out for Benjamin, her son, but then it became more for the community she lived in,” says Duane Foret, Director of Parke and Recreation for St. Charles Parish.
“There’s something for everyone. There are ramps throughout the whole system so a wheel chair can go through the whole thing. There are transfer surfaces from the playground to the slide, so if a kid is strong in the arms but unable to move their legs they can transfer over and slide down. The colors are chosen, contrasting colors so someone with vision difficulties, it makes it a little easier for them to maneuver,” explains Sirmon.
“Even parents that are maybe wheel chair bound can also come and play with their children on the playground,” says Foret.
“Kids like Benjamin are here for a reason. They are not here for us to feel sorry for them. They are not here for us to feel pity for them. They are here to change all our lives and he’s definitely changed ours,” says Sirmon.
Hillary Sirmon is hosting a Miracles to Milestones Golf Tournament on November 16, 2013 at Grand Ridge Golf Club in Luling, LA. Event Sponsors must register by November 1st. Al proceeds will go into the building fund for the new park. The event needs sponsors, golfers, and anyone who wants to make a difference by getting involved.
To register or make a donation contact Hillary Sirmon at firstname.lastname@example.org