Volunteers spent the weekend constructing Alex's Playground at Akron Children's Hospital Mahoning Valley Beeghly Campus in Boardman during a recent community build.
JoAnn Stock, director of development with Akron Children's Hospital, said volunteers from Home Depot, the Aut Mori Grotto, Junior League of Youngstown, and Austintown Rotary, along with friends and family of Allison and Mark Vistein, constructed "Alex's Playground" on the Akron Children's Beeghly Campus in Boardman.
She said the "Alex's Playground" project was inspired by two parents mourning the loss of their infant son. Alex and his twin brother, Aiden, were born prematurely. Alex died when he was only six days old.
Allison and Mark Vistein made the initial gift for the project with funds received from family and friends given in memory of Alex.
''The Visteins wanted to give back to the hospital so that other children of the community could have a place to play and have fun and to create a lasting legacy in memory of Alex. What began as a dream of two parents mourning the loss of their baby will soon become a reality on the Akron Children's Hospital Mahoning Valley Beeghly Campus,'' Stock said.
The playground will be used by patients in children's inpatient areas as well as those coming to the campus for outpatient services such as physical, occupational and speech therapy, and primary pediatric care appointments.
Stock said the playground has been designed to accommodate children with wheelchairs, leg braces, crutches and other barriers that usually leave them sidelined at a traditional playground. The new play area will also feature sound and visual stimulation for children with hearing or vision loss.
Funding for the project was received primarily through a grant of $125,000 received from the Hine Memorial Fund of the Youngstown Foundation.
Stock said donors can contribute towards a block which will be engraved with the name of a special child in their life and placed in the playground.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony will take place later this month, Stock said.