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Turning Grief Into a Place for Joy

Published: 7/26/2014
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Courtesy Team Jessica

In 2009 Jessica Martins died at age 19, a result of a rare genetic disorder called Rett syndrome. Now, nearly five years later, her memory is about to open up a world of joy and possibility for children in her hometown of Belcherton, Massachusetts, thanks to Team Jessica.

Founded by Martins' mother, Vicky Martins-Auffrey, Team Jessica has been making plans and raising money for years to build a playground to honor Martins' memory. The team is poised to begin building it this summer, according to Created under the guidance of physical therapists, "Jessica's Boundless Playground" will offer every boy and girl a chance to have fun and be a child regardless of level of mobility. The playground will accommodate children and adults with disabilities, older adults and wounded veterans in rehabilitation.

Assembly of the playground equipment is scheduled to begin Sept. 13, Jessica's 24th birthday, but fundraising is still underway through July 31 as part of the Be One Challenge.

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