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Timmy's Day Out offers summer fun for children with disabilities

Timmy's Day Out offers summer fun for children with disabilities

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 helped make communities more accessible for people with disabilities. Prior to 1990, the choices for where people with disabilities could go within a community and what activities they could participate in were limited. Candy Bollin’s son, Timmy, was born with spina bifida in 1965, well before the ADA was implemented, but she was determined and had to work harder to keep him active and independent at a time when services were limited and accessibility for those with disabilities did not exist.

In 2004, while serving as Grand High Priestess of the Dendarah Court of the Ladies’ Oriental Shrine of North America, Bollin raised funds for a program to benefit children with spina bifida who were patients at Shriners Hospitals for Children — Erie. The hospital’s spina bifida specialty care team created “Timmy’s Day Out,” named in memory of Bollin’s son. It helps introduce children with spina bifida to experiences within the community, such as riding public transportation, making healthy food choices and participating in other activities.

Since 2004, through continued donations and fundraising initiatives, the Timmy’s Day Out program has provided many children with opportunities to participate in local and regional recreational events throughout the summer.

Children who participated in the program this past summer enjoyed an Erie SeaWolves baseball game and a visit to Wagon Trails Animal Park in northeast Ohio. Another of the program’s activities was Timmy’s Garden and cooking. Throughout the summer, staff members helped children grow vegetables in a garden on the medical center campus. After the children harvested produce from the garden, they learned how to cook it. Finally, there was a visit to Splash Lagoon Water Park, a staple of the program and always a popular outing. The indoor park includes nine waterslides, a lazy river, hot tubs and tube rides. The children had such a fun day playing in the water.

Although Candy Bollin, the driving force behind the creation of the program, passed away in June 2017, her legacy will live on through the families who participate in Timmy’s Day Out.

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