The Berthoud family raises funds for an accessible playground

BERTHOUD, Colo. – In an empty field full of dirt and weeds, the Bowling family sees a possibility.

The field is just a few blocks from their home in the community of Berthoud’s Farmstead, and the Bowlings have a vision: a playground that will be accessible to everyone.

“I often talk about how lucky we are and all the great things. But there are also difficult things,” said Lauren Bowling. “We often have to fight to get things for Miles.”

Because even though Miles Bowling, in many ways, is like any other four-year-old, in other ways life isn’t that simple.

A tumultuous pregnancy

When the Bowlings decided to start their family, they learned it would be a struggle. With the help of IVF and five years of trying, Lauren and her husband Richard Bowling had their first boy, Braxton.

“After we had our first, we did IVF again. We were surprised it took the first try. We put an embryo in, and we were very shocked to find that an embryo separated with less than 1% chance”, says Laurent.

The splitting of the embryo meant the couple had twins. But the joy quickly took a turn when, at just 12 weeks pregnant, the Bowlings discovered their babies were sick.

“We were told the babies had a very, very slim chance of survival. But surprisingly, shockingly, week after week they were still alive and still alive and still alive,” Lauren said.

Lauren began living in Colorado Children’s Hospital at 20 weeks pregnant so she could be monitored around the clock.

At 28 weeks, her doctors determined that their babies had a better chance of surviving if she delivered by emergency cesarean section.

“Both twins were born without breathing and were resuscitated at birth, and at some point during this time Miles lost oxygen long enough that he suffered a traumatic brain injury, known as PVL” , Lauren said.

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Miles Bowling, now 4, was born at 28 weeks.

PVL, or periventricular leukomalacia, led to cerebral palsy, which doctors told the Bowlings was a common occurrence in cases of PVL. Miles’ twin brother, Mack, was unaffected and he was able to develop as expected. Miles was not verbally or cognitively affected, but he requires a full-time wheelchair.

Building your life in Burgdorf

After the boys were born, Lauren and Richard decided to move from their triple level in Mead to a new community where the builder was willing to make special arrangements to ensure the house was accessible to Miles.

While the house was all they could dream of, the community lacked a place for the three Bowling alley boys to play.

“[Miles] really like to play on the playground like most kids do, and the playgrounds closest to us that are fully accessible – meaning a wheelchair has control over the whole surface and equipment up – are in Fort Collins, Westminster and Greeley,” Lawrence said.

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Miles and Mack Bowling love playing at their local parks.

All of these places are a 40-minute drive from the Bowling Alley, which gave birth to an idea.

The Farmstead community is still under construction, so Lauren contacted the developer, Will Edwards with Edwards Development, to see if there was a way to incorporate something that was accessible to ADA for Miles. Equipment for a playground in the community had already been purchased, but he was ready to look at what it would take to get a five-point harness swing.

Turns out the swing would cost $9,000. The developer said if the Bowlings could find half the money, it would cover the rest.

So the Bowlings got to work. They organized a lemonade stand for the weekend where the community held a two-day garage sale. They spread the word, mixed enough lemonade for two days, and ended up raising $11,000.

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bowling family

The Bowling family raised money at a lemonade stand and raised $11,000 for a five-point harness swing.

And that was just the start of Burgdorf’s adaptive park project.

Build a playground for people of all abilities

After learning about the Bowling Alleys’ goal of making their neighborhood playground more accessible, I can’t helpa Longmont non-profit organization, immediately wanted to get on board and help fundraising efforts.

“Can’d Aid’s Walks and trails program is really about trying to get kids off their screens, get them to live healthy, active lives outside,” said Diana Ralston, Founder and CEO of Can’d Aid. “So when we heard about Lauren and Miles and the fact that the closest accessible inclusive playground for Miles was 40 minutes away, I think all of us at Can’d Aid are wired to just roll up our sleeves. , jump and try to shake things up.”

But the nonprofit wanted to know what it would take to do more than just a swing. The Bowlings and Can’d Aid sat down with the developer and they joined Star Playgrounds and got to work.

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I can’t help

Star Playgrounds created a design for an accessible and inclusive playground, the Berthoud Adaptive Park Project.

With help from the community, the group developed the Berthoud Adaptive Park Project, which will create an inclusive playground accessible to people of all abilities. The farm-themed play space will feature slides, frog jumps, monkey bars, rock climbers, a carousel, two zip lines and a swing area. It will incorporate accessible elements for children who use mobility aids and stimulating elements for able-bodied children, creating a truly inclusive environment for all.

“Easy access and the ability to play for everyone is a huge part of your neighborhood, your city, loving where you live and caring about where you live,” said Erin Starr, director of the operation of Star Playgrounds.

When asked what he’s looking forward to most in the new playground, Miles is particularly excited about ziplining so he can “hang on like a monkey.”

A park of this caliber is expensive — $800,000 — and the Bowling family needs the help of the community.

Click here to go directly to the Denver7 Gives donation form, then choose a campaign

To help the Bowlings achieve their goal, we have launched a Denver7 Gives Fundand donations can be made by clicking “Help the Bowling Alleys Build and Adapt the Playground” in the Denver7 Gives drop-down menu.

Edwards Development has also pledged up to $100,000 for the twins’ May 19 birthday. On top of that, Can’d Aid recently announced that Oskar Blues founder Dale Katcheis has donated a Fully Customized 2012 Jeep Wrangler Pickup being auctioned off with the proceeds will help fund the park.

“Letting children play together and teaching them that inclusive play is a lesson for life. It’s something that…we see today that the world is missing, and I think that’s something we can introduce here into our community right now,” says Laurent.

The Bowlings hope to innovate the playground in the fall and open it next spring, taking that open court in their neighborhood and turning it into a community play space for everyone.

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Harold B. McConnell