Cherokee Co. boy raising money for county’s first-ever all-inclusive playground

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CHEROKEE CO., S.C. (WSPA) – A new, all-inclusive playground could soon be coming to our area, but a Cherokee County boy is calling on Carolina’s Family to help make it possible.

“One of the hard things for me is getting through grass,” Silas Hyleman said.

10-year-old Silas Hyleman has cerebral palsy and isn’t always able to play outside with his brother.

“I witnessed Silas growing up, never able to participate in playing at playgrounds,” his mother Stephanie Hyleman said. “Not being able to go to a playground for both children to enjoy play together.”

That’s why Silas and his family are raising money for what would be the very first all-inclusive, barrier-free playground in Cherokee County.

“We have several playgrounds, but we don’t have one all-inclusive playground,” Cherokee Recreation District Director Marcus Bradley said. “All-inclusive? That’s it! It’s for everybody–it’s not just for one kid, it’s for all the kids; so, I love it.”

“Inclusive play is so important for development, for well-being, for health,” added Stephanie Hyleman.

It would look a lot like your normal playground.

“You’ll have a merry-go-round; you’ll have a seesaw,” Hyleman said.

But it would include some cool, new things, like ramps and rubber matting.

“You’ll have adaptive swings alongside swings that aren’t adaptive,” she said.

That means Silas will finally be able to play with his best friend: his 6-year-old brother, Asher.

“Every playground we see, they just have steps,” Asher Hyleman said.

“Children with and without disabilities can learn so much from each other and, with something this simple, we can create a more accepting generation,” Stephanie Hyleman said.

The equipment for the playground has an expected lifespan of 25 years, so the Hylemans are hoping it will have a long-lasting impact on the community.

Silas and his family started raising money in March and have already raised $107,000.

For more information about the playground, click here.

To donate, you can go to Carolina Foothills Credit Union and ask for the account named “SILAS Steps, Inc.”

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