Hamilton boy’s wish provides playground for all children

Through the Make-A-Wish Foundation, an accessible playground for all children is being installed at Millikin Woods Park. Hamilton resident Grayson Combs, who turned 10 earlier this month and is pictured here in 2016, made the wish. NICK GRAHAM/2016

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Through the Make-A-Wish Foundation, an accessible playground for all children is being installed at Millikin Woods Park. Hamilton resident Grayson Combs, who turned 10 earlier this month and is pictured here in 2016, made the wish. NICK GRAHAM/2016

It started when Carol Combs and her son, Grayson, overheard two women talking about the struggles of having a child with disabilities and their hope that they would be able to play outside like other children.

“That broke my heart,” Combs said. “I’m a big believer in inclusion and that just struck me.”

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So when the Make-A-Wish Foundation contacted the Hamilton family and asked what Grayson wanted, the family decided to share his granted wish of an accessible playground for all children to enjoy at Millikin Woods Park.

“It just all came together,” his mother said.

Grayson Combs, who turned 10 on April 2, was diagnosed with a rare condition at 5 months old called Lissencephaly, a birth defect that causes brain abnormalities, severe developmental delays and seizures, according to the Make-A-Wish Foundation. When diagnosed, he was given 2-to-5 years to live and has spent his life in a wheelchair, his mother said.

Grayson’s wish will be granted Saturday as part of the Make-A-Wish Ohio Kentucky & Indiana celebration of World Wish Day, which takes place each year on April 29. The celebration will go from noon to 2 p.m. at Millikin Woods Park, 194 N. Washington Blvd., Hamilton.

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Grayson and his family helped him ask for a wheelchair-accessible playset at a park near his home, so that he and other children with disabilities could enjoy playing outdoors.

There also is a similar park in Middletown called Elley’s Hope Playground Park. It’s located at Lefferson Park near Berachah Church.

“What an amazing month,” said his mother, who noted Grayson has doubled his life expectancy. “I’m sure come Saturday I’ll be super emotional. It’s great that this will open doors for other kids.”

Grayson has two sisters, 11 and 2 years old, and their mother said they all try to spend as much time outside as possible.

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World Wish Day is a global celebration of the first wish that inspired the founding of Make-A-Wish: in 1980, then 7-year-old Chris Greicius, who was fighting leukemia, received his heartfelt wish to be a police officer for a day.

Here are some ways to join the World Wish Day Celebration:

• Show your muscle and join John Cena in participating in the #ArmWrestleChallenge, sharing on social media with #WorldWishDay

• Make a donation online or by calling 877-206-9474

• Make a donation of frequent flier miles

• Gift your time and resources for wish granting

• Tell your family and friends to make a donation

• Ask your employer to make a corporate donation or match your own

• Ask your employer to link to oki.wish.org in their internal newsletter and through their company’s social media channels

There are nearly 230 children in Southern Ohio who are awaiting their wish, and Make-A-Wish relies on the financial support of the local community to grant wishes. For more information on ways to help, visit www.oki.wish.org, call 1-877-206-9474 and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram at @makeawishohkyin.

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