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‘Field of Dreams’ for teenagers of all abilities opens in Latest Jersey


A primary of its kind inclusive complex, the RWJBarnabas Health Field of Dreams, will open Saturday in Toms River, Latest Jersey.

The grand opening of the $3.6 million facility comes after nearly five years of planning and pandemic-related delays and challenges. The Toms River complex will concentrate on serving children with physical and social disabilities.

While the opening of the complex is a triumph, it began as a horrifying nightmare. Christian Kane was driving along with his 19-month-old son, Gavin, when a beer truck barreled into his automobile near Toms River High School North. Because of this, Gavin had a traumatic brain injury, a right front temporal stroke and an entire skull fracture.

Today, Gavin is 11 years old. He’s in a wheelchair more often than not, and he communicates primarily through an iPad. But he’s an otherwise strange preteen cracking jokes at his parents’ expense and wanting to play along with his friends.

Gavin Kane on the RWJBarnabas Health Field of Dreams.


But it surely hasn’t been easy.

“He desired to do every little thing that each one the opposite kids were doing,” said Mary Kane, Gavin’s mother. “But due to his lack of strength to carry up his head, he was very limited.”

As Gavin grew, she found it increasingly difficult to take him to playgrounds and have him take part in sports. The Kanes have six children.

“It was very difficult, almost unattainable, for me to get him on a swing or a slide or anything like that, so he didn’t. We could go to the playgrounds and he could watch, and that is not fun,” Mary Kane said.

Five years ago, Gavin’s parents grew bored with watching him sit on the sidelines. They dreamed up a playground and sports complex where kids of all abilities could play and take part in physical activities together. “To have the opportunity to do things they didn’t think they’d be ever in a position to do,” said Christian Kane.

Christian Kane, an Advanced Placement statistics teacher at Toms River High School North, poured every little thing he had into this project. The $3.6 million dollar facility would require major sponsors, state aid, and grants and fundraising, along with specialized equipment to accommodate kids of all abilities.

A young girl tests out the brand new playground for the primary time.


Christian Kane said the most important challenge got here when the pandemic nearly threatened your complete project. It meant a significant increase in prices for raw materials and a shortage of construction employees.

“Due to inflation, something that costs $4 that was going to be donated now’s $12 to $13,” he said. “Unexpectedly, I’m getting these bills that I do know someway I will should fund.”

Now that the complex is prepared, Christian Kane said he’s been getting inquiries from groups from all around the state seeking to visit the power. The Kanes gave CNBC a primary have a look at the power ahead of its official opening. Gavin and a few of his closest friends also got the prospect to go to the complex for the primary time.

“You possibly can hear the children’ pure enjoyment within the background and also you knew that that is what they needed,” said Christian Kane.

The three.5-acre, state-of-the-art complex incorporates a basketball court product of special materials to accommodate wheelchairs, a miniature golf course, a baseball diamond and a playground that caters to children with walkers, wheelchairs and more. It also has a community garden, pavilion, snack bar and a quiet corner that appears off into the woods.

“You recognize while you come here that you simply’re not going to be stared at and you are not going to be checked out and you realize you are coming here for pure enjoyment and fun,” said Christian Kane.

Doctors say the advantages of such a facility are crucial.

Gavin and Christian Kane at the brand new RWJBarnabas Health FIELD OF DREAMS.


“The chance to be playing, learning and showing off one’s abilities outside of the hospital is just as vital sometimes because the medications and therapies that occur throughout the hospital,” said Matt McDonald, CEO of Kid’s Specialized Hospital, which treats Gavin.

As Gavin tested out the power for the primary time, he showed pure joy being around other children who were just like him. For fogeys, it’s a spot to let their guard down and socialize with other families going though similar challenges.

Christian Kane said he hopes that is just the beginning. He wants others to see the importance and success of his complex and construct facilities similar to it.

He passes the location of his crash on daily basis on his solution to work, but he said driving near the brand new Field of Dreams makes his days a bit bit higher.

“Driving past it and seeing kids and adults playing here,” he said. “All of the labor to construct this was all value it.”  

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