Our mission: build an all-inclusive, ADA approved special needs playground in Western New York.
Our sons Mason (born 2013) and Matthew (born 2014) are both afflicted with a still undiagnosed form of Hypomyelinating Leukodystrophy. They cannot walk, talk, crawl – or most importantly for their age – play outside, not even with their sister McKenna (born 2011).
Play for a disabled child is one of the most important aspects of therapy. Interaction with others and a way to engage with the environment around them is crucial to their development and quality of life. So, my wife and I set out to find a place for them to play, a place where play is integrated with their siblings and other children, one place where they can go and not feel any different from other children.
Quickly we learned there were no playgrounds within 50 miles that could accommodate special needs children in the way that we felt they should be, and so my first instinct was to purchase equipment for my own backyard. But I then came to the realization that I am not alone in this – many other families in Western New York are facing the same gap in their children’s lives. Considering all the amazing support we’ve received from friends, local and state agencies, and the community, we knew it would be better to pay it forward. And so began Mason’s Mission.
We have the opportunity to do something really awesome in a WNY park in Pendleton: build a special needs playground to include swing sets, visual and audio tools, a slide, and even a merry-go round, all wheelchair accessible! With help from our local governments, corporate partners, and donors like you we know we can make it happen. Our boys and the many other families raising special needs children will benefit greatly from a park like this.
The other thing we learned in this process is how difficult, overwhelming, and discouraging it can be to not know what is wrong with your child. After years of long distance doctor's visits and countless attempts at a diagnosis, we still have few answers. We hope in the long term to set up an ongoing fund to support parents with undiagnosed children as they navigate the (sometime quite expensive) waters of finding answers. After the playground is built, Mason's Mission will shift focus to helping support these families educationally, emotionally, and financially.
The outpouring of love and support we have received from people already is quite amazing. We thank you very much for your support and donations! We invite you to be a part of this exciting investment in our community and believe that together we can make a difference for the children of our community, special needs or not, and their families. Please consider donating at one of our leadership levels outlined below.
Mason’s Mission Foundation and The Evchich Family