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For the last two years national nonprofit Can’d Aid has been raising funds for its Berthoud Adaptive Park Project, the first public inclusive playground for children and people of all abilities in the area.
Several Berthoud businesses joined forces this month to donate a combined $25,000 toward the project, furthering Can’d Aid’s goal to create a destination playground in Berthoud. The Arc of Weld County, High Country Beverage, and Zack Loffert, owner of Rodz & Bodz Movie Car Museum and Batman’s Mechanic & Friend, have donated more than a combined $25,000 that help Can’d Aid reach the halfway fundraising goal of $500,000. ADA-accessible play equipment comes at an exorbitant cost, and that is why the Berthoud Adaptive Park Project needs community support.
“We are so excited to be working with Can’d Aid. This project is close to my heart, and I want to help build a playground that has a little bit of something for everybody” says Zack Loffert. “I want this park to be built while my kids are still young enough to enjoy it with their friends.”
Colorado-based nonprofit Can’d Aid, whose mission is to rally people from all walks of life to become a catalyst for change in their communities, was inspired to begin raising funds for the first inclusive-play public playground in the mid-northern Colorado area by Berthoud resident Lauren Bowling and her family. Lauren and her husband Richard are the parents of three young children, five-year-old Braxton and four-year-old twins Mack and Miles. During Lauren’s pregnancy, Mack and Miles were diagnosed with twin-to-twin Twin Transfusion Syndrome and, either in labor or delivery, Miles was without oxygen long enough to result in a traumatic brain injury, known as Periventricular Leukomalacia, which ultimately led to the development and diagnosis of spastic triplegia cerebral palsy at age two. Though not affected cognitively or verbally, Miles is unable to stand or walk by himself which makes him dependent on a wheelchair for his mobility, freedom, and independence.
“This park is for the community and that is why it is so important to get the community involved with fundraising, volunteer-led building events, and raising awareness,” says Can’d Aid’s Executive Director Diana Ralston. “Reaching the halfway point in Can’d Aid’s fundraising goal is a huge milestone and the saying is true, it takes a village. We are so excited that Miles’ story has resonated with so many people from all walks of life.”
The ongoing partnership with local businesses has been key to raising the funds necessary to build the Berthoud Adaptive Park. Can’d Aid plans to coordinate fundraising efforts and work with developers to host community events and provide volunteer work days for the playground this summer. The goal of the fundraiser is to assist the Bowling family and the project developers in any way necessary to help reach the goal of bringing accessibility and inclusion closer to home for many in the mid-northern Colorado area.