MILLEDGEVILLE – Adam Drinkall wishes he could watch his daughter, Ivy Faith, play with her two sisters, Lili, 8, and June, 5.
“You take those things for granted,” he said, holding back tears.
Ivy Faith was just 5 months old when she died last July of sudden infant death syndrome.
In her memory, the Drinkall family raised $60,000 in about a year. The money will be used to build a new playground at Milledgeville Elementary School.
The playground was approved Monday by the Chadwick-Milledgeville school board.
“We are grateful for their generosity and generous donation they made in memory of their daughter,” district Superintendent Tim Schurman said. “This playground will benefit students for years to come.”
It’s important to Drinkall, 34, that parents can watch their children play together on the new playground.
“We want a place for kids to play and for families to enjoy one another,” he said.
According to the Mayo Clinic, SIDS is an unexplained death of a healthy baby younger than 1 year old. Its cause is not known, but SIDS could be associated with abnormalities in the portion of an infant’s brain that controls breathing and arousal from sleep.
“When it came time for the funeral, we had to decide what the memorial would be for,” said Jennifer Drinkall, Ivy’s mother. “We wanted to do something for the community, because the community has been good to us.”
So, they decided to replace the old playground at the school.
Last month, the family hosted a 5K run in honor of Ivy to raise about half of the money that will go toward the playground. The rest came from the memorial fund.
“We didn’t think we could do all this in a year,” Jennifer, 34, said. “Once people found out what we wanted to do, people really started to give. Some people even gave more than once.”
The playground equipment has been ordered and, once it arrives, a group of volunteers will begin to install it. Multiple slides, monkey bars, a climbing wall and a new swing set will be included.
If all goes well, Ivy’s sisters, who attend Milledgeville Elementary, and their classmates will be on the new playground in early October.
“This is just a giving community, and they have been really nice to us,” Adam said. “I really can’t stress that enough.”