Foundation recognized

March 18, 2019

The Declan Donoghue Foundation, which started in Kernersville with their first playground at Harmon Park, received a Special Citation Award from the North Carolina Recreation & Park Association.
The Declan Donoghue Foundation started in February 2011 after Declan passed away in 2010. To honor his legacy, Nicole and Rich Donoghue started the Foundation to help keep Declan’s spirit of play alive by building playgrounds throughout the Triad area.
Declan was born on May 30, 2008. Nicole said he loved being around people, watching his favorite movies and playing outside. However, he suffered many medical ailments, including pneumonia, abnormal bloodwork and unexplained fevers. While Declan’s parents and doctors tried everything they could to help him, they weren’t able to save him. It wasn’t until after he passed away that doctors discovered he had X-linked chronic granulomatous disease.
Nicole said their hope is that these playgrounds will provide joy to children of all ages. Since the Foundation started in Kernersville, it continues to hold their annual Declan’s Dash 5K and Fun Run each spring at the site of the first playground, located at Harmon Park.
Nicole explained that they were honored with the award during the state-wide conference held in Winston-Salem earlier this year.
After presenting the award to Nicole and Rich, Nicole said they then came to Kernersville and presented the award to them in front of the Kernersville Board of Aldermen.
The Special Citation Award is given to people within the parks and recreation industry who have contributed to the industry in a positive way.
“Ernie (Pages) and Kernersville Parks and Recreation Department (KPRD), along with Lee Tillery and Nasha McCray, all came together and nominated us because we have built five playgrounds and have given scholarships in Kernersville for kids to go to camp in the summertime,” Nicole explained.
While the award was supposed to be a surprise, Nicole explained that they figured it out when Pages, who is the KPRD director, asked for them to be available and to attend the conference.
Nicole said they were honored to be selected for the award.
“It was amazing because he mentioned to us that they all came together. As a private nonprofit, one way we have built all these playgrounds is through collaboration with the parks and recreation departments, and a whole extended audience that know the Declan Donoghue Foundation and Declan’s story and the extended spread of his spirit of play,” she said. “It was really great for us to know that our mission and hope for Declan’s legacy is reaching others.”
Nicole noted that they are still committed to doing camp scholarships this year in Kernersville and plan to start construction on the Foundation’s sixth playground this fall.
“With funds raised from last year and this year, we hope to build one this fall in the Triad, but we don’t have a location picked out yet,” she said.
For more information about the Declan Donoghue Foundation, visit www.declansfoundation.org.

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