MUSKEGON COUNTY, Mich. — The Hollis family spent Monday at Michigan Adventure, walking around, having fun and meeting families who are facing the same challenges they are.
“It’s a day off of work and day to get to spend time as a family which we haven’t had since Fynn’s been born really,” said Katie Hollis while holding her toddler Fynn in her arms.
She said Fynn has down syndrome and a few heart conditions, so he needs a lot of care and attention. However, Monday they were among the 500 families that spent the day at the amusement park for free to help them forget about their woes.
“Kids look forward to great opportunities to just have fun. We call it recreational therapeutic relief. All that simply is is a big fancy medical term for having fun,” said Oyauma Garrison of A Kid Again. “An opportunity to come out, forget about all their treatments, forget about the illnesses that they’re battling, and literally just create memories with their families that will last a lifetime.”
Garrison is president of A Kid Again, a national organization that puts on events like this to give kids with physical challenges and disabilities a chance to be a kid.
He said it also gives families a chance to be kids.
“The average cost of care to raise a child battling a life-threatening condition is $400,000 - $600,000 a year,” Garrison said. “So, as you can imagine most of these families don’t have discretionary income to be able to go to the local zoo.”
So, the organization paid for local familes to spend their Monday having fun at the park.
Katie said it was the first time the family went to the event. She heard about it through the Michigan Down syndrome Association and decided to go after many parents encouraged her to do so.
The Hollises weren’t disappointed.
“I think it’s a good community to come together, seeing everybody having fun, happy, and not in the hospital,” Katie said.