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Mason's Mission achieves funding to start construction of special needs playground in Pendleton

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Fri, Jun 30th 2017 11:50 pm
Mason's Mission, a nonprofit organization formed to assist families with special needs, announced it reached an initial goal of funding the construction of a $400,000 special needs playground at 6570 Campbell Blvd., Pendleton. Work will begin in late July.
The 12,000-square-foot playground will feature a wide range of swings, slides, a merry-go-round, sensory play centers and more, all completely handicapped- and wheelchair-accessible. It will be the only park of its kind in Western New York.
The playground is scheduled to open before Labor Day.
"While I'm thrilled we have hit our funding goal to get the playground built, this is actually just the beginning of Mason's Mission," according to Jason Evchich, father of both Mason and Matthew, who suffer from a form of Hypomyelinating Leukodystrophy. The disease prevents the children from crawling, walking, talking or playing on a traditional playground. "What began as a desire to build an inclusive playground has morphed into an all-out effort to help families who are impacted by the costs and challenges of raising special needs children."
Evchich said the park in Pendleton would never have been possible without the help of Supervisor Joel Maerten and the entire board. Pendleton donated the land and is also providing in-kind work such as excavation and labor.
"They've just been fantastic to work with," he said. "I honestly don't know where we'd be if it weren't for their support."
After speaking with parents from as far away as Indiana and Alaska, Evchich and his wife, Jennifer, realized there was a much larger need to address.
"I'm very fortunate to have my own business, so I can take time off for hospital visits. But there are families who can't do that - or can't even afford to walk into a hospital. And once that happens, the tensions start and families sometimes break apart," he explained. "So, we have altered Mason's Mission to actually act as a support network for families everywhere. The goal is to provide financial and moral support so they can keep their focus where it belongs: on the welfare of their children."
Evchich said he's looking to keep the fundraising effort going to assist those families - as well as other communities that wish to create a park similar to the one in Pendleton.
"This shouldn't be unique - all children deserve the right to play and live as normal of a life as possible," he said. "In addition, I've heard from handicapped parents and grandparents who told me they're so excited because they will get to play with their children on a playground for the first time. If that's not a worthy mission, I don't know what is."
To donate or learn more, visit https://masonsmissionfoundation.org/.

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