Storm destroys new playground built for girl with heart condition

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Tuesday’s storm damaged something very special to one Central Indiana girl with a serious heart condition, but her family has promised to pick up the pieces.

The Parkers had just completed a playground for their 6-year-old daughter, Hope. Hope was born with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome. Since birth, she has undergone 16 surgeries, of which four were open heart surgeries. She also suffered a stroke that took her speech.

The playground was a gift from her father.

“My husband wanted to do this for Hope,” said Jennifer Parker, Hope’s mother. “He’s a physician and he can’t fix her and this was his way of providing something for her that was really special and something that she loves to do.”

But only two days after it was finished, Tuesday morning’s strong winds toppled the playground and scattered its pieces.

“The entire structure fell over on its side,” said Parker. “We were just sick, ‘cause this was truly a labor of love.”

The family is used to challenges though and promises to re-build. Last summer, the Parker’s wanted to take Hope further than she’d ever been by crossing the finish line of the Mini-Marathon with her. However, race rules barred strollers, so Hope’s mom carried her on her back.

Parker said her daughter has overcome so much, it gives the family strength during hardships.

“She has learned that when one thing doesn’t work, she will find a way to make it work, and that’s kind of the lesson for all of us,” said Parker. “This is one thing we can fix for her.”

The Parkers believe they will be able to have the playground up in no time, but they want to wait until the threat of severe weather is finally over.

More information about Hope and her family is available online: