February 27, 2013 - BY WENDI REARDON
Ryan Kennedy (click for larger version)
Clarkston News Staff Writer
Ryan Kennedy loved sports, especially baseball and football, and also playing outside in a park.
So in his memory, the Friends of Ryan Kennedy are raising money for a playground at Clintonwood Park. He passed away after a five year battle against Ependymoma brain cancer in May 2012, two days after he turned 10-years-old.
A fund raiser this Saturday at Buckshots Bar & Grill, 7 p.m., will help build a 13,000-square-foot playground for all ages. The equipment was chosen by Kennedy's family to accomodate children of all stages of health and physical abilities for all to enjoy.
The playground equipment costs $300,000 and the goal is to start construction in spring 2014.
The fund raiser will include a silent auction, 50/50 raffle, lottery tree and drink specials. They will also have T-shirts, hats and Ryan Kennedy bracelets for sale.
One of the many donations is from McCourt's Music - a guitar, guitar stand and four free lessons. For more, you will have to go to Buckshots on Saturday.
They will also have a Big Screen TV raffle, one ticket is $5 or get three tickets for $10.
The event will also have live entertainment from Matts Walls and The Locals.
The Friends of Ryan Kennedy is offering commemorative plaques to recognize generous donators. They will be on display at the memorial playground. They are included with corporate sponsorships for $5,000 and up and comes with invitations to the Playground Partners Sponsor Thank You event.
The idea was started at a recap meeting of Kids Day, held by Independence Township Parks and Recreation.
"Kelly Hyer and I have done the Kids Day in the Park for the last seven years," said Jamie Nye, owner of Great Turtle Toys in Clarkston. "We decided we wanted to turn it into a fund raiser and dedicate the event to Ryan."
From there the idea snowballed into building a playground in Kennedy's memory.
After the money is raised for the playground, they will continue raising money for Friends of Ryan Kennedy's second goal which is to help families going through similar circumstances as Kennedy ans his family were in.
"We are hoping to have a fundraiser every year to donate to a local family that is going through childhood cancer," Nye said.
They will use money raised at the Annual Ryan Kennedy Memorial Day in the Park, held every second Saturday in May, to assist families with children who have cancer.
The third goal for Friends of Ryan Kennedy is sustaining fundraising and donating to research to prevent cancer in children.
For more information, call Nye at 248-935-7096, email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. Also, visit clarkston.k12.mi.us/fork, Facebook - "Friends of Ryan Kennedy," or follow them on Twitter - Friendsof RK
Make donations at www.crowdrise.com/ryankennedymemorialplayground/fundraiser/aspace2dream. Buckshots is at the corner of Andersonville and White Lake roads.
Wendi graduated from the University of Michigan-Flint with a degree in communications. She wrote for the Michigan Times college paper and Grand Blanc View before joining The Clarkston News in October 2007.