New River Valley Mall Play Area Honors Ill Child


New River Valley Mall custom play area

The MOMS Club of Christiansburg, VA raised nearly $80,000 to build an indoor play area at New River Valley Mall. The play area was built in honor of a young girl with Metachromatic Leukodystrophy (MLD), a genetic disorder that attacks the nervous system and has a life expectancy of approximately five years.

Hope Overbay, the campaign organizer and a member of The MOMS Club of Christiansburg, says that the child, Lily, was diagnosed in July 2012 and the group launched their fundraising campaign in April 2013. By December 2013, they hit their goals and knew that Lily’s Playground would be a reality.

“We did a variety of local fundraisers,” Overbay explains. “We held a 5K run, had kickback programs at restaurants and a lot of individuals gave money. But the big driver was that we received an anonymous matching grant up to $20,000. So, we launched a 30-day campaign on Tilt and raised $15,000 which doubled to $30,000.”

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The play area at New River Valley Mall was designed, manufactured and installed by PLAYTIME, LLC.

“This was a phenomenal project to be part of,” says David O’Niones, PLAYTIME Vice President of Retail Sales. “That community really came together to honor Lily and the result is a beautiful playground bearing her name, a lasting tribute for many years to come.”

Overbay says it was “great” to work with PLAYTIME on the project.

“Working with PLAYTIME was fantastic,” says Overbay. “When Dennis, the installer, was here, he got to meet Lily. He was super-nice.”

Overbay says that New River Valley Mall also paid 10% of the costs and signed an agreement with the mom’s group to take over legal ownership of the play area once it was installed, so that the mall is responsible for maintenance and upkeep.

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In the end, Overbay says that the group exceeded their goal, raising $86,000, so they commissioned an artist to create a mural of everyone who donated to the campaign.

The new play area opened September 27 and the grand opening was attended by over 400 people, a testament to the fact that the play area campaign captured the community’s hearts and that it serves a need for families.

“Everyone is just amazed with the amount of community support that made it happen,” says Overbay. “In addition to serving as a lasting tribute, Lily’s Playground will provide a free indoor play area for local children to have fun and release energy.”