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Bennett’s Village

Organized by Kara McClurken
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Bennett’s Village Fundraiser - unisex shirt design - front
Bennett’s Village Fundraiser - unisex shirt design - back
Bennett’s Village shirt design - zoomed
Bennett’s Village Fundraiser - unisex shirt design - front
American Apparel USA-Made Jersey T-shirt

Support Bennett's Village!

verified-charity
All funds raised will go directly to The Arc of the Piedmont .
31 items sold
$560 raised
100 goal
Thanks to our supporters!
$20
American Apparel USA-Made Jersey T-shirt
Unisex - Navy
  • Bennett’s Village Fundraiser - unisex shirt design - small
  • Bennett’s Village Fundraiser - unisex shirt design - small
Organized by Kara McClurken

About this campaign

On Wednesday, February 28, 2018, the world lost some of its light. Five year old Bennett McClurken-Gibney died in Charlottesville, Virginia, held by his mommy and daddy who loved him with all their hearts. Bennett was a lover of Pokemon, Voltron, My Little Pony, and all things cute and fluffy, especially “Lucas the Spider”. He had an amazing rock collection and spent endless hours sorting them–he knew every single one by its color, shape, and size. He loved pushing Fall leaves with his wheelchair and racing down the halls of his school, Johnson Elementary. He adored his big sister as they shared snuggles, disco bath parties, racing, riddles, and Legos. He had an amazing capacity for joy (and mischief) that was infectious and far exceeded the limits of his body. Against all odds, he led a full, joyous, active life.

As Bennett turned one, he was diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy type I, a genetic disorder that causes muscular weakness. At the time of his diagnosis, few children with SMA type 1 survived past the age of two. With the loving care of his family, friends, and medical team, he was able to sing and laugh, raise his hand, race in his wheelchair, hug and snuggle and fill a room with smiles and joy. Bennett brought light and laughter to all who knew him. He blew through pre-conceived notions of disability with a smile and a twinkle in his eye. He was a shameless flirt, a caring friend, and an example of the amazing things people can be. Bennett made the world and all who knew him better by his boundless light.

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Bennett also LOVED to PLAY. His power wheelchair gave him amazing independence. But local parks and playgrounds are not designed to allow folks in wheelchairs to easily play side-by-side with their peers. The closest park that was designed to include kids in wheelchairs is PARK365 in Richmond, an all-abilities playground, where he could “run” around just like all the other kids. No part of that park was off limits to him or his wheelchair. We have partnered with the City of Charlottesville and identified an ideal location for all-abilities playground: PEN PARK. A place where kids and adults of all abilities can gather, play, and laugh. This is a massive undertaking that will take all of us. It took a village to care for Bennett, and it will take a village to build this playground. Proceeds from this fundraiser will help us realize our dream.

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Supporters

Anonymous 2 items
Anonymous 1 item

I want to help share Bennett's story. My class learned about Bennett last year and started collecting cans for cash to donate to Bennett's Village.

Nancy Kliewer 1 item + $25
Trisha WILLINGHAM 2 items
Anonymous 1 item

For our kids and yours

Sue Berres 1 item
Jen Underwood 1 item
Danny Bennett 1 item + $50
Michael Cosner 1 item + $25
Sarah FitzHenry 1 item

Because everyone deserves the chance to play in Charlottesville. And because knowing Bennett and sharing his story has changed me for the better.

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