Saturday, November 12, 2011
A group of young men and women at Heritage Christian Academy in Rockwall, TX helpd a Dress Up Drive in honor of Ella Aulik. Ella is a second grader at HCA in her own fight against cancer. This is a perfect way to honor the life of a young child whose circumstances will forever be changed. In her honor, many smiles will be created through the love of dress up. Thank you, Heritage Christian Academy!
Monday, September 26, 2011
PAF is the Regional Winner for the Lanscape Structures Together We Play Essay Contest! We won $10,000 worth of accessible playground equipment AND $50,000 in design services. This means that we are teaming up with a highly reputable and established organization to help us make Alexa's Playground a reality. The target date for the Grand Opening is December 2012. Needless to say, we are thrilled!! Here is the essay that was entered along with pictures, letters of recommendation, videos and a whole lot of heart!
In June of 2008, a four-year-old girl laid in a hospital bed. She had been battling cancer for over two years and was stricken with her first, but extremely aggressive infection that had found its way into her lungs. Held down by the numerous tubes exiting her body, a smile erupted across her face at the thought of one thing… a pink playground. “Mommy?”
“I want to go to a park. A pink park. I want to go there when I get better.”
It was no surprise that “Princess Alexa” (so named for her love of dress up) wanted to go to a pink park. After all, pink was her favorite color and playgrounds were a special part of Alexa’s life during treatment. Alexa’s weak immune system kept her from playing indoors with other children, but outside, a playground became her kingdom. Alexa found strength being around other children, even if she had no hair and her legs were at times weaker than her spirit.
It was in that moment, sitting by her bedside in the hospital room that had been our home for so long, that I promised my little girl I would get her to that playground. Just hours after Alexa declared her desire, her body succumbed to the fatal infection and gave way to a coma. A week later, Alexa passed away in my arms as her father held us in his.
My daughter not only left me with the gift of her inspirational life, but also the drive to DO something in her memory. I believe that children with debilitating conditions should be able to feel as close to normal as possible. Let kids be kids. And what do kids do best? They PLAY! I needed to help other children with unique circumstances like hers. It was like my pain was the fuel I needed to give my own life away in service. Alexa was going to get a playground of her own to share with ALL the friends she left behind, including the ones in wheelchairs.
Shortly after Alexa died, I began reaching out to others to help establish the Princess Alexa Foundation. Our mission is to celebrate the childhood spirit of seriously ill children through dress up and play. As Alexa’s mother, I obviously have a personal drive to bring life to my daughter’s wish. Now that I have been the President of the Princess Alexa Foundation for three years, I see clearly how all children, not just those with disabilities, would benefit from an inclusive playground. Since the foundation was created, I have witnessed the benefits of play from a much wider perspective. We have established dress up closets in every major Children’s Hospital in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, both the Dallas and Fort Worth Ronald McDonald Houses, and the local Make A Wish Chapter’s Headquarters. We also encourage play through other outlets such as our Dress Up Deliveries and Hospice Happiness Programs, where we send personalized dress up packages to children of families living with serious illnesses.
Our Foundation has accomplished much in our three years, and now it is time to give our much needed and most anticipated gift—Alexa’s Playground. Alexa’s dream is quickly becoming a reality. Alexa’s hometown, Keller, TX, has designated 2.5 acres of land in the area to house Remember to Play, the site of Alexa’s Playground and a memorial walkway. The entire area will be wheelchair accessible and tailored to fit the needs of ALL children and their families. The city has even committed to performing all maintenance needs on Alexa’s Playground going forward.
Our foundation has gained a wide array of support from local organizations. We have companies lined up to help with in-kind goods from building materials to fencing. Alexa’s Playground is fast becoming the talk of the town!
Our community needs this. The city of Keller has 437 acres of developed and undeveloped park acreage. While that seems like a large number of acres, it is well below the national average of total park area relative to total city area. With a population of over 40,000 and a projected build out population of 52,000, it is clear that Keller needs more recreational facilities, including playgrounds.
In addition to general playground needs, there are no inclusive playgrounds in the city of Keller and its surrounding area . . . yet! Keller schools serve over 2,900 children with disabilities that are limited in their access to and/or enjoyment of regularly constructed playgrounds. We need an inclusive playground so that every child in our community can enjoy the benefits of play. The Director of Special Education Services for Keller ISD is on board with our project and is thrilled by the possibility of a place to take special ed students while educating their entire student body on the importance of inclusivity. As a teacher myself, every day I see the need to have children of all levels of ability be able to play together.
It is our hope that by giving children a place to convene, inclusive of diverse needs, we can show, not just tell, our children of our commitment to their hopes, dreams, and futures. Alexa’s Playground and the Remember to Play project is a symbol of that commitment.
The board of The Princess Alexa Foundation asks you to consider our project as the beneficiary of this very generous gift. It will not only allow Alexa’s dream to break ground; it will set off a chain reaction in the community of Keller that starts with play and follows a path towards self-fulfillment. It will foster the creation of new friendships and promote citywide pride. Alexa’s dream has the potential to touch countless lives and hearts, which is why we are so eager to get started.
When completed, Alexa’s Playground will be a living, breathing, smiling reminder that dreams really do come true.
Thank you for reading Alexa’s story and for your consideration of Alexa’s Playground for this contest.
Founder, President, Mother
The Princess Alexa Foundation
Sunday, September 11, 2011
On August 11, 2011 we were proud to join Texas Scottish Rite Hospital by providing dress up fun for their patients. Scottish Rite is a unique hospital in that it provides 100% free care to any child in need- mostly orthapedic services. Many of the patients there are in restrictive devices, but that did not stop them! Princesses, super heroes and all sorts of dazzled up wheelchairs decorated the room, but what shone the brightest were the smiles! Kids will not be held back and we do our best to help provide them with the tools to let their imaginations soar. Thank you, Scottish Rite, for your support and dedication to children.
Wednesday, February 2, 2011
More than 20 years ago, a little girl with a brain tumor passed away when she was only 9 years old. The little girl was a tom boy who loved climbing trees, playing sports and running with her dog, Star. Her name was Page! Hagemann. Page! (she always signed her name with and exclamation point) is the daughter of a good friend of Kristi Gross, who is one of our Board Members and an outstanding lady.
On January 15th, we celebrated Page's life with the opening of a dress up closet for Make A Wish of North Texas. There were kids dressed up everywhere. It was the biggest party Make A Wish had seen yet! You could see smiles and hear laughter bounding through the building.
We are thrilled to have been a part of this special gift from Page's Family and friends that will bring happiness to families for years to come.
Thank you to Peggy and Kirk Chandler and Steve Hagemann for sponsorship
Thank you to Magic Hands for construction
Thank you to Shantelle Wheeler of Wall Design DFW for the artistry
Thank you Endersby Photography for the beautiful pictures!
Sunday, December 12, 2010
Friday Zack and I had the fortunate opportunity to meet with a few ladies at Texas Scottish Rite in Dallas. A good friend, and fellow cancer dad, Dr. David Podeszwa connected us with the director of development for the hospital. We met with her as well as a childlife specialist and one of their physical therapists.
Being parents of a cancer child, we have no experience with the world of pediatric orthapedics, dyslexia and other medical conditions. But upon entering the crayon flanked entrance of this unique establishment, we were greeted with a warm and homey feeling. This hospital does not feel like one at all- it doesn't smell like a hospital or look like a hospital either. It is decorated with child-friendly displays- over sized toys, mechanical contraptions and other bright and cheerful items all children and adults are sure to love.
The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the placement of a dress up closet in their playroom. It was a quick, easy, and friendly meeting. The hospital staff was excited to receive our services and in turn we were just as excited to be a part of such a wonderful establishment.
There will be some interesting hurdles to undertake when it comes to dressing these kids up- some have missing limbs and other have halos attached to their skulls in preparation for surgery. But if we know anything, we know that kids of any kind love dress up no matter what they are going through- we saw all sorts of orthapedic devices all fancified up which made us smile. Now it is our turn to make sure these kids feel just as awesome outside as they are inside.
We look forward to joining Texas Scottish Rite and bringing kids with unique circumstances the joy of dress up!
Sunday, October 3, 2010
Mark your calendars, tell your friends, and get ready to join us for our third annual Dress Up Drive!
November 13th is our collection date at Colleyville Heritage High School from 9am to noon. (Hwy 121 and Hall Johnson- Click here for map)
We are in need of financial support as well as NEW costumes and accessories for children sizes 2-10. (See list of needs below).
Every day ill children are finding happiness through the escape that the Princess Alexa Foundation provides through dress up. YOU can help us create superheroes and princesses! Be a part of our Dress Up Dollars program and raise funds to help us give to more children than ever in the coming year!
We now have dress up closets in all Dallas/Fort Worth children's hospitals and Ronald McDonald Houses! But our giving doesn't stop there- it stretches out to children across the U.S.! We need your help to continue giving to children who need it most.
Alexa's Playground - the pink playground Alexa dreamed of just before passing away. We are currently raising funds toward our $250,000 goal to make this dream a reality and bring laughter to children in our community for years to come. This will be the first ADA accessible playground for the city of Keller.
For more information please contact Crys Aigner, our founder and director at 817-875-7490 or email@example.com
Costume and Accessory Needs:
Costumes: Superheroes, Star Wars characters,
Accessories: Anything! swords, masks, capes, guns, etc.
Costumes: Princesses, superheroes, TV and film characters
Accessories: crowns, boas, wands, make up, jewelry, wigs, any other accessories
Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Join us for the 2nd annual Touch a Truck fundraising event as we celebrate with the city of Keller at the annual Wild West Fest!
Saturday, September 25th
Bear Creek Park
suggested donation: $10 individual, $20 family
Children and their families can explore all kinds of vehicles from hot rods to construction equipment.
This will also be our official kick off debut for our Remember to Play campaign- the fundraising toward building Alexa's Playground at the Keller Sports Park.