TROY, N.Y. (WTEN) — A new playground is coming to Troy, and it’s being built in honor of a former Saddlewood Elementary school student who suffered from cancer. At the Midway Fire Department, the family of Charlie Fernandez held a special event in hopes of raising $100,000 to honor their daughter who recently passed away.
In April of last year Charlie lost her battle to pediatrics neuroblastoma, a rare form of cancer and today her family is hoping to raise that money to build a playground for children of all abilities.
“Today’s her actual birthday, Charlie would have been 9 years old, today. So, it is a pretty cool thing this all was meant to be,” said Charlie’s father Jason Fernandez.
To help raise funds organizers have set up a full barbeque and things like a bounce house, lemonade, stand, raffles, pony rides and more. The playground build is getting some local sponsorship from SEFCU, The Community Foundation of the Capital Region and Hannaford.
Bill Lavin, founder of the where angels play, created 26 parks for victims of the sandy hook school children and tells us he has a special set up in mind for this park.
“Some of the stuff will be in brail where they can actually read with their hands and they would, there’s some guiderails to get them through and be able to participate in the other activities up on the ramps. It’s not just for that, its wheelchair and just a very special, different playground,” says Lavin.
When I spoke to Charlie’s father about the loss of his daughter, he had some advice for other parents and children facing the same battle.
“You just gotta take the bad days with the good and try to overcome those bad days and just make every day special for them, and you know they’re tough. Kids are tough,” said Fernandez.
The event went on until 7 p.m. Aug. 13 and brought out over 300 community members. The event brought in over $16,000 moving the total to just over $91,000. The new park is planned to be ready by the end of May 2023.