For many young families, going to the playground is a part of growing up. For Juliet and Jason Dawkins it is both joy and pain.
"Playground can be such a beautiful place for kids to show up and form relationships and grow and learn from each other," Juliet Dawkins, said.
That is true for their 4-year-old daughter, Scout and 3-year-old son River. But, it is not true for their oldest, 6-year-old Lucia.
"It's called Pallister-Killian Syndrome," Juliet Dawkins said.
In addition to using a wheelchair from weak muscle tone, she said her daughter is also legally blind and non-verbal. Lucia's challenges make it essentially impossible for her play at typical playgrounds.
"There are wood chips. It's difficult to push my daughter around in a wheelchair," Jason Dawkins said. "The swings there's nothing that my daughter can sit in. In fact, there is absolutely nothing here that my daughter can do."
Aside from a few schools, they say there are no fully accessible public playgrounds in the entire Denver Metro area which is home to more than 74,000 kids with special needs, according to the Dawkins.
"Of course, as a parent, you'll do absolutely anything," Jason Dawkins said.
So, they started the Lu Bird's Light Foundation to raise money to build the first public playground for kids with severe disabilities.
"Our mission is to give all kids a chance to play," Juliet Dawkins said. "There's so many things that kids with special needs can't do and we just believe that playgrounds shouldn't be one of them."
They were given a 5,000 square foot plot of land at Stanley Marketplace near 25th Ave. and Dayton St. in Aurora. The Dawkins are now trying to raise $500,000 to build the playground which will include ladderless slides, supported swings, spinners, and sensory equipment to accommodate kids with different challenges.
"For all those days that my daughter was stuck on the sidelines, it'll just mean the world to us," Jason Dawkins said.
The foundation will hold a fundraiser on September 23 at Stanley Marketplace for the playground. If you want to find out more click here. The plan is to break ground next summer.
"It'll just be beautiful to see the kids playing together," Juliet Dawkins said. "It'll just be a dream come true for our family and so many other families that deserve this chance."