Local Teen Uses Make-A-Wish Request to Bring Accessible Friendship Swing to Holland Park
Photographer / Belinda Russell
“Kammy is full of light,” says Jared Hiner about his daughter Kamdyn (Kammy) Hiner. “The atmosphere of the room changes when she enters. She brings positivity wherever she goes.”
Just like any other the 16-year-old, the Fortville resident enjoys music and the outdoors. One thing sets her apart however, she suffers from Wolf-Hirschhorn syndrome (WHS), an extremely rare genetic disorder. Diagnosed since infancy, Kammy has maintained her upbeat disposition despite suffering from delayed growth and development, seizures and low muscle tone.
“Since Kammy has a critical illness, we knew she would be eligible to be a Make-A-Wish Foundation recipient,” Hiner says. “We reached out to the Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana chapter. Over several months, our family participated in the qualifying process which consisted of two home visit interviews plus multiple emails.”
When it came to choosing a wish, it took some time for Kammy to decide. Instead of opting for an experience that would impact only herself, she wanted to find something that would benefit a large number of people.
“We were out in a park when Kammy saw a child in a wheelchair,” Hiner says. “When Kammy was younger, she went through a period when she used a wheelchair. Kammy loves being outside, and she remembered not being able to use a swing when she was in her wheelchair. That’s when she decided to use her wish on a swing that would be accessible for individuals with special needs.”
The entire Hiner family began to extensively research possible swings. They selected a design known as a friendship swing. It accommodates two people so a parent or other able-bodied person can accompany a physically-challenged child. The multi-thousand dollar swing will be installed alongside Holland Park’s playground equipment in Fishers. A commemorative plaque will be mounted in Kammy’s honor.
Kammy and her family are already fairly well known in the area for the yearly fundraiser, Kammy’s Kause. When Kammy received the diagnosis of WHS, little was known about the disease except that it was the result of a deletion of a portion of the fourth chromosome. The Hiners became aware of 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization called the 4P Support Group whose mission is to improve access to treatment information and encourage research. Since 2004, Hiner has organized a local fundraiser where every dollar raised benefits the group.
“This year we are trying something different by not charging admission and instead asking people just to donate what they feel the day is worth,” Hiner says. “On September 14, Main Street in Fortville will be shut down from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. for a day filled with music from 14 local bands and more than 50 arts, crafts, food and drink vendors. It’s Kammy’s favorite day of the year. She loves it more than her birthday or Christmas.
“When Kammy chose an adaptive swing for her wish many people were surprised that she didn’t ask for something like a trip to Disney World,” her father adds. “But why opt for something temporary, when you can leave behind a message? We hope the swing will be a catalyst for people to think of others and inspire someone to do something for someone else.”