As featured in the IndyStar on April 23, 2019 - The first $5,000 in donations was matched by The Steven J. Cage Foundation
Teen's Make-A-Wish wasn't about herself. It was about helping others.
The doctors said Kammy didn't have a chance.
They told her parents, while she was still in her mother's womb, that a rare genetic disorder would not allow her to develop physically or mentally. They said she would not be able to talk, walk or survive longer than a few months.
But nearly 18 years later, Kammy, who was diagnosed with 4p- or Wolf-Hirschhorn syndrome, can walk. She enjoys going to the park and playing on the swings. And although she is non-verbal, the Fortville 17-year-old can always find ways to show people that she wants to help, said her father, Jared Hiner.
"She can make people feel loved and important," Hiner said.
So when Kammy was selected to be granted a wish from the Make-A-Wish Foundation, the choice reflected her helping nature, her father said. She wanted an inclusive swing, designed to securely fit children and adults of all abilities.
"We knew she would love a swing that she could share with her friends regardless of their abilities and something that benefited others," he said. "When Kam is on the swing, when kids like her are on the swing, in that moment in time they're free. They don't have anything holding them back."
Kammy's swing is for everyone
The inclusive swing was built at Holland Park in Fishers, and a ribbon-cutting was held Oct. 18 and hosted by Make-A-Wish Ohio, Kentucky & Indiana and the city of Fishers.
Like many other parks in Hamilton County, Holland Park features a sensory-friendly landscape design and a poured-in-place rubber surface that makes it wheelchair-accessible.
The park's sensory-friendly features and its proximity to the Hiner home in Fortville, east of Fishers, made it a perfect spot for the swing, Hiner said.
Fishers Mayor Scott Fadness said he was glad the family chose a park in Fishers for the swing and other children and residents will benefit from the addition to the park for years.
"I hope we can all take the lessons of selflessness and generosity Kammy embodies to inspire each other to live a life beyond ourselves and to make an impact on our community," Fadness said.
Katie Ferrell, communications manager for Make-A-Wish Ohio, Kentucky & Indiana, said Kammy and her family could have wished for a playset on their backyard or a trip, but the choice to give this gift back to the community will inspire others.
"At the heart of her wish, Kammy wanted to spark a movement for more inclusive playgrounds throughout our communities," Ferrell said. "She has inspired countless people with her selfless wish, and it will bring joy to local children and their families for many years to come."
The swing is one of many ways Kammy's family has contributed to special needs families in their community.
When she was born, Kammy weighed under 4 pounds and was less than 20 inches long. She wasn't breathing on her own.
The rare genetic disorder affects many parts of the body and delays growth and development. Children with this rare chromosome disorder have an intellectual disability, low muscle tone and seizures, according to the National Institute of Health's Genetic Rare Diseases Information Center.
The experience was difficult, Hiner said. But then he found the nonprofit 4p- Support Group, which helps parents and family members with access to information, education and advocacy.
"The families that are part of the support group are what got us through in the beginning and even later on in Kam's life," Hiner said. "The medical community at the time had little to no information about the disorder, so the group was like a treasure and I got a great amount of information from these families who were living it every day."
In 2004 he founded Kammy's Kause, a music festival in Fortville and the largest fundraiser for the support group. Kammy's Kause has raised over $400,000, which has been donated directly to the 4p- Support Group and to awareness efforts.