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Springfield special needs child receives accessible walkway

Springfield News-Sun - 8/18/2023

Aug. 18—A Springfield child with special needs was recently "granted a dream" after she received an accessible walkway at her home.

Chelsea Forant, who lives with static encephalopathy, a damage or disease that affects the brain, was given a walkway by the Sunshine Foundation.

The foundation "answers dreams" to children with life-long chronic conditions such as spina bifida, cerebral palsy, profound low-functioning (Level 3) autism, down syndrome, hydrocephalus, severe epilepsy, Sickle Cell Disease, blindness, deafness, trauma from abuse and other conditions.

Shannon, Chelsea's mother, said they are grateful for the foundation for the walkway for their yard.

"Chelsea is now able to safely access our yard and participate in outdoor activities with her sisters," she said. "We recently had several friends over for a fire pit gathering and making s'mores. Chelsea was able to join in because of our new walkway."

Forant's walkway was possible through a donation from the annual Smith family Tricky Tray event, which involves former Sunshine Foundation dream recipients who paid it forward.

The Sunshine Foundation helps make dreams a reality for children that may have been turned away from other wish-granting organizations. It relies on donations from individuals, organizations and corporations.

The most common requests of the foundation are visits to Disney World, Legoland, SeaWorld and Universal Studios, while staying at the Sunshine Foundation Dream Village near Disney. They also answer "special dreams" such as shopping sprees, computers and iPads, outdoor playsets, above-ground swimming pools, family trips, cruises, adaptive tricycles, other special needs equipment and more.

The Foundation has "spread sunshine" into the lives of more than 41,900 children throughout the U.S. since 1976. For more information, visit www.sunshinefoundation.org.

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