An 11-year-old Ankeny girl began a mission to build a new playground for sick kids at Blank Children's Hospital. This weekend, a community is coming together to finish what she started.
A natural on stage, Erin Moomey danced her way through life. Not even a Leukemia diagnosis in February 2013 could knock her off her feet.
"She was diagnosed, she missed one dance competition, but she danced in the next one," says Matt Moomey, Erin's Dad.
She danced in the next one after that. Right up until June, when Erin wound up at Blank for a ten day stay. Her Dad says she passed the time exploring and they discovered a courtyard park, but there was something missing.
"She even said, ‘this park is not very fun,’" says Moomey.
"So it became her goal after being a patient last summer to help us raise money to get a new piece of playground equipment," says Alissa McKinney, the Development Director at Blank Children's Hospital.
McKinney got on board with Erin's plan right away.
"We figure the existing playground in Lynne Culter park is at least 20 years old," says McKinney.
Together, they settled on a new design and began raising the $47,000 needed to build a bigger, brighter playground. One that matched Erin's orange and pink hair and nickname "Sparkle Diva."
"She was a pretty happy-go-lucky kid and it would be fun for other kids to be using and having fun on," says Moomey.
Erin didn't live to see her plans take shape at Blank or even finish the 5th grade. She lost her battle with Leukemia last fall.
This spring, her family decided it was time to pick up where Erin left off. Mom, Becky, and big sister, Emma, are even keeping her streak of diva alive, pink hair and all.
"We knew that this was something she wanted and we thought it was a good way to honor her," says Moomey.
You can still register for The Sparkle Run. The 5K walk/run is Sunday, May 4th at the DMACC campus in Ankeny. Money raised will go towards the new playground at Blank. You can find out more information about the run here.