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Maddie's Wishes

Wed, 03/01/2006 - 12:00pm
Last updated
1 year ago
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Wishes do come true at the end of Maddie's Rainbow

In the grand scheme of things, there is one thought that just seems to resound in the mind of a child likely every day: to play. Maddie Rubio is no different, even though she has some unusual circumstances for a little girl of 6 and a half years old.

Maddie has a condition, which can either be maternally inherited or sporadic, called suspected Mitochondrial disease, which compromises her immune system and keeps her from going to a lot of public places and hinders travel for her. To find out more, visit www.umds.org. When the Make a Wish foundation found out about this, it decided to give Maddie three wishes.

When the “wish granters,” Carl and Eva Freeman, came out to talk with Maddie, they gave her three wishes. Her first wish was a trip, but with all the germs Maddie could possibly come in contact with, her mother, Holly, knew that wouldn’t be a realistic option. Maddie has a lot of special needs and decided she wanted her own park, so that was her second wish. She wanted to be able to play with her brother and sisters in the park, so that seemed a viable option. She also wished for a shopping spree for her third wish.

Considering the park, Make a Wish called and asked the Rubios what they were thinking of for the park and let Holly know they could order something, but it wouldn’t necessarily be able to be modified to work for Maddie’s special needs. She would need special accessibility modifications, to begin with. Holly then asked if she could make some calls to see what was out there and what might be possible. She ended up talking with Gloria from Exerplay first and got some good ideas. She then checked into Western Organics engineered wood fiber and met who would be later termed as Maddie’s “Wish Genie,” Jeff Adams, who ended up donating the surfacing for the play area.

Holly then worked closely with Dan and Gloria from Exerplay to choose equipment. They visited the Rubio home and let the children pick equipment. It wasn’t quite that simple to keep things going from there though. In April of 2005, Maddie was hospitalized for three weeks, so the project was put on hold for a while until Maddie was doing better. She came home in May, and the project resumed. Jeff Adams had PG Enterprises come out and excavate and level the backyard. Then Summit Construction built a six-foot sidewall around the back of the house from block donated by Southwest Block. Dependable Masonry also built the wall. Then Adams arrived with three truckloads of surfacing and the project went on.

There were 20 companies and numerous volunteers involved in the project including the art department of the University of New Mexico. These students painted the mural, which incorporated the children’s art into the design to personalize Maddie’s park that much more. Heads Up Landscape Contractors handled the landscaping, and Distribution Management sponsored Maddie’s Wish. Landscape Structures, Inc. donated huge portions of the park “under the rainbow.” Jeffrey the Giraffe of ToysRUs was also on hand to get everyone started playing upon completion.

Her parents, Holly and Andrew, are ecstatic to have this $40,000 project built right there where Maddie and her sisters, eight-year-old Mariana, 4-year old Malerie, and 1-and-a-half-year-old brother, Aaron are able to enjoy a new level of play at their home in Albuquerque, NM. “It’s incredible to have that in our backyard,” notes Holly.

The Rubios are so grateful to all who have helped with the project. Maddie’s wish was not only to have a playground in her backyard but to also let other children come play there as well, so there are scheduled times for others to come and enjoy the park in their backyard as well. There are four panels including a braille panel, ­a periscope, bucket swing, and even a double slide so Maddie’s therapist can slide down with her as she receives her therapy in-home.

This beautiful little girl is such a great example of generosity as she not only wished for a place to play but also a place for everyone she could share it with to play as well. She seems to be the gold at the end of the Rubio family’s rainbow.

Thinking Today About Tomorrow's Play™ The only magazine that is 100% dedicated to the Playground Industry

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