Sunday, October 28, 2012

Hickory's Zahra Baker Playground

In 2010 the disappearance of Zahra Baker, from our recent home of Hickory, NC, made national news. She was a 10-yr-old cancer survivor, which left her with a prosthetic leg and significant hearing loss. Her dismembered body was later found in multiple locations and her stepmother, Elisa, finally pleaded guilty to her murder.

This gruesome story was unimaginable to so many in our community and around the world- Zahra was reported to be a fun, sweet girl loved by all. How could such a senseless thing happen to a sweet, sick child by someone appointed to care for her? I don't understand it at all.

Billboards, tv ads, and news stories immediately circulated around Hickory and a fund was soon started to raise money for a playground in Zahra's honor. The goal of the playground was to use equipment specially designed for handicapped children. The initial goal of $75,000 was soon surpassed, and $200,000 was eventually raised for the project. The playground was dedicated in May of 2012, and I went for the first time during a business trip back to Lenoir/ Hickory last week.

It is a remarkable place, and so worth talking about!

A video about the playground:

Some of the equipment. In the middle of the picture are roller-coaster style swings that are very wide and have a protective bar for children with limited balance,/ mobility, etc. On the right of that structure is a wheelchair-capable swing. I didn't see anyone use it, but it seems cool. In the background is a 50-ft. slide! That looked seriously cool. 

This is my favorite piece of equipment I saw: a wheelchair teeter-totter! There is a wide plank to enter it and a wide base for this rocking thingy. There is a divot on each side so adults can stand on it and rock it back and forth. Pretty cool! 

Karrie is one of my very good friends from Hickory. She and her triplets met me and another friend at the playground. Aren't they so cute?!?! I hate missing them grow up! 

A monument to Zahra at the entrance to the park. 

The playground is located at the Kiwanis Park, 805 6th St. 

It was so, so wonderful to visit a place that I truly love, see friends who mean a lot to me, and spend time in this area that was built out of compassion. I love seeing a community come together for a good cause!

1 comment:

  1. It's nice when something positive can come out of such a horrible experience. Glad you were able to visit and spend time with friends.


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