Swing lets disabled children in on the fun

Published 8:41 am Wednesday, April 22, 2015

After being severely injured in a 2011 automobile accident that confined her to a wheelchair, Katie Breland Hughes could have given up.

But she used that tragic event to assist wheelchair-bound children find playground equipment suitable to their needs through Katie’s Kause, a charity that purchases playground equipment for wheelchair-bound children.

Most recently, a handicapped swing was added to the playground equipment at Cassidy Park. The swing was dedicated on March 21, the same day as the annual Barbeque and Cook-off.

The 28-year-old Hughes is employed as a physical therapist at Therapeutic Concepts. She said the swing was a long time in coming.

“Equipment is really expensive. We were finally able to buy the wheelchair swing for the park. At the dedication, I had kids I had been working with in their wheelchairs there at the park. There were four or five of them, and they really enjoyed it.”

Hughes said the charity has its sights set on a merry-go-round.

“A merry-go-round probably costs close to $1,000,” Hughes said. “We’ll be having more fundraisers coming up. People can donate to Katie’s Kause at any time. It is set up at Resource Bank.”

Hughes said the injury definitely changed her perspective on children confined to wheelchairs.

“The injury definitely made me see things through different eyes and gave me awareness of what kids can’t do because they are in a wheelchair and not accessible to them,” Hughes said. “I can’t thank enough Landon Tims and City of Bogalusa workers that helped place and set up the swing for the dedication. We want participants in past Katie’s Kause Runs, the churches and groups that have invited us for testimonies to know we appreciate you and without you, the dedication would not have been possible. Thank you for helping us be a small part of the children’s smile.”

Hughes said the hope is many more wheelchair-bound children learn of the swing.

“Our prayer is that as more children learn of the swing, more children will come to enjoy this simple thing that we all take for granted at Cassidy Park playground.”

Hughes said her spinal cord was not severed in her accident, and she welcomes any good news concerning her condition.

“Progress is slow, but it is still progress,” Hughes said. “I don’t believe anything is permanent.”