August 5, 2013 5:55 pm
Updated: August 5, 2013 6:11 pm

Girl with rare disorder inspires accessible playground in Richmond

Gemma Bostik was born with a rare neuromuscular disorder and lives with a tracheostomy tube, ventilator and wheelchair.

Amanda Bostik

After two years of advocating to the city, a Richmond mom has started a fundraising campaign to help build an accessible playground for all children.

Amanda Bostik’s three-year-old daughter, Gemma, was born with a rare neuromuscular disorder and lives with a tracheostomy tube, ventilator and wheelchair.

Bostik said after spending almost a year in hospital, she was excited to bring her daughter to one of Richmond’s local playgrounds, but found they were not accessible.

“Gemma is unable to sit up or walk and has a wheelchair-stroller with all her medical equipment. I grew up in Richmond and enjoyed playing in the many beautiful parks and now when I take my daughter there isn’t any play equipment for her to enjoy, only some walkways and ramps,” she said.

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Bostik jumped into action to convince the city to build an accessible playground, attending meetings and turning to social media and blogging to spread awareness in the community.

“When I first started I never knew if my daughter would be here to see the playground. I only knew that I needed to be the voice that she doesn’t have to make sure we make a change in our community,” Bostik said.

After nearly two years, her hard work finally paid off.

“I am very glad to say that after two years, a binder of work, and half a dozen city meetings, that an opportunity to build a playground with accessible elements has presented itself. The city has set aside some funds to re-build an existing playground,” Bostik said in a Facebook post.

However, the funds from the city are limited and Bostik wants to make sure the playground is not only accessible, but has accessible play equipment as well.

Bostik is hoping to fundraise $10,000 to purchase individual pieces of accessible play equipment and is part of the playground design team.

“I am not only doing this in honour of my daughter, but for all children, adults and grandparents with mobility challenges in our community,” she said.

To donate, visit Bostik’s fundraising website or any TD Canada branch location where Bostik has set up a fun called “Richmond Accessible Playground Fund.”

Watch Monday’s News Hour for more on Gemma’s fundraising drive

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