Handicap swings focus of Sept. 1 event at Cupola Park

A Sept. 1 community event is being held at Cupola Park to raise awareness and funds for maintenance and repairs to Celina’s Butterfly Swings.

MILLSBORO – A rescheduled date is set for an awareness/fundraiser held in memory of an 11-year-old girl with special needs who passed away in 2011.

Saturday, Sept. 1 is the date for the Celina’s Butterfly Swings event at Cupola Park in Millsboro.

Celina’s parents, Louise and Mark Whale, are hosting the event and their church, Spirit of Excellence Ministry of Deliverance in Dagsboro, is sponsoring it through efforts led by Pastor Ronnie Johnson and Gloria Johnson.

The outreach event will run from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the bandstand of Cupola Park. It will feature free food, live music, dance and specials for children and possibly other fun activities catering to young children, Ms. Whale said.

Any money raised will go toward maintenance and repair of two handicap swings put in at Cupola Park in September 2013 through an initial fundraising effort staged by Ms. Whale. Since then, the swings have been the target of abuse and destructive vandalism.

“There are no harnesses on them now. They need maintenance,” Ms. Whale said.

Celina, who was born with a rare chromosomal condition that delayed her development, attended Howard T. Ennis School in Georgetown.

“She had special needs,” said Ms. Whale. “She couldn’t walk. She couldn’t talk. But she loved to swing. That’s why I took her to that park. But she fell out of the baby swing. She kind of got a little too tall. Fortunately, she was caught by her father.”

Following her daughter’s death, Ms. Whale facilitated the effort for swings for children with special needs.

Lloyd’s Memorials donated the Celina’s Butterfly Swings stone marker located behind the swings. Celina’s name means “Heavenly Sent,” which is also the name of the ministry her parents now have.

The upcoming event was originally scheduled for June 23 but was postponed due to a stormy forecast.

In the event of rain Sept. 1, the event will be held Sunday, Sept. 2, with hours from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Should both days be a total washout, Ms. Whale plans to hold the event at the Spirit of Excellence Ministry of Deliverance, located at 31195 DuPont Boulevard, Dagsboro.

Ms. Whale someday hopes to form a nonprofit. She said her goal “is to put swings in other little parks that don’t have handicapped swings.”

For additional information, contact Ms. Whale at 302-236-0277.

News Editor Glenn Rolfe can be reached at grolfe@newszap.com

You are encouraged to leave relevant comments but engaging in personal attacks, threats, online bullying or commercial spam will not be allowed. All comments should remain within the bounds of fair play and civility. (You can disagree with others courteously, without being disagreeable.) Feel free to express yourself but keep an open mind toward finding value in what others say. To report abuse or spam, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box.