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Mason's Mission playground to open in Pendleton

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Mon, Sep 11th 2017 03:00 pm
Mason's Mission, a nonprofit organization formed to assist families with special needs, announced the grand-opening of its first special needs playground at 6570 Campbell Blvd., Pendleton. The event will take place at 1:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 16. New York State Sen. Robert Ortt will be on hand to help dedicate the site. The public is invited to attend.
The 12,000-square-foot playground features a wide range of swings, slides and sensory play centers that are completely handicapped and wheelchair-accessible. It is the only park of its kind in Western New York. Additional play areas and rides, including a merry-go-round, are slated to debut in spring 2018.
"This is such an amazing moment for everyone involved in Mason's Mission," said 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. "For the first time, children - and parents - of any ability will be able to play together in a truly 100 percent inclusive handicapped-accessible playground."
The Town of Pendleton donated the land and provided in-kind work such as excavation and labor.
Evchich said Mason's Mission is now turning its attention to helping other communities build similar playgrounds - as well as assisting families that are impacted by the costs and challenges of raising special-needs children.
"We've learned so much along the way that we absolutely must share this with other communities so they can experience the joy of playing with their kids," Evchich said. "We're also going to help parents handle the financial and emotional pressure of raising kids with disabilities."
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.
"While this park is fantastic, it shouldn't be a unicorn," Evchich said. "Children everywhere - of all abilities - deserve the right to play and live as normal of a life as possible. I've also 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."
To donate or learn more, visit https://masonsmissionfoundation.org/.

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