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Waconia boy uses his Make-A-Wish to help fund inclusive playground

When Make-A-Wish gifted Quinn Larson with $5,000, he and his family chose to donate the money to the city of Waconia to help fund an inclusive playground.

WACONIA, Minnesota — As more than 100 golfers drove by in their golf carts for a charity event, 10-year-old Quinn Larson waved to each of them. 

"He loves people; he loves kids," said Quinn's mom, Amy Larson. 

On Monday, golfers gathered at Island View Golf Club in Waconia to help raise money for an inclusive playground in their community. The idea started with Quinn and his family.

"It's absolutely incredible how far he's come," Larson said. 

In 2014 just before Quinn turned five years old, he fell from a two-story window. 

"He had a traumatic brain injury and then six months after that he ended up with meningitis. He lost pretty much all of his functions," Larson recalled. 

Credit: Heidi Wigdahl
In 2014 just before Quinn Larson turned five years old, he fell from a two-story window.

Quinn began to gain some of those functions back, including his ability to walk but playgrounds have always been a challenge. 

"He has cochlear implants and going down a regular slide with cochlear implants can short them out so then you have to take them completely out," Larson said. 

So when Make-A-Wish gifted Quinn with $5,000 in 2017, he and his family chose to donate the money to the city of Waconia to help fund an inclusive playground.

The playground is expected to replace the old one at Waterford Park in 2023—unless they can raise the money sooner. 

Credit: Amy Larson
Quinn Larson hands over a check for $5,000 to the city of Waconia.

So far, their GoFundMe page has raised more than $51,000. 

It'll end up costing about $600,000; they need $400,000 to start building. 

"It'll be a great place for him to play, for his sisters to play... it's going to have something for everybody," Larson said. 

Monday's "Swing For The Kids" fundraising event included an afternoon golf scramble and an evening concert at Island View Golf Club. 

Event coordinator Katie Van Vooren said through the event, they hope to get close to matching the funds that have already been raised. 

Credit: Amy Larson
The inclusive playground is expected to replace the old one at Waterford Park in 2023—unless they can raise the money sooner.

They had more than 100 golfers at the first event and expect more than 180 at Monday night's concert. 

"I've always felt like Waconia is a special community and then when we took this on we had big hopes. We didn't know what would happen. But when searching just to get 18 hole sponsors, we ended with 50," Van Vooren said. 

As golfers prepared to play, Quinn shook their hands and then waved each of them goodbye. 

Quinn's mom added, "He loves just being with everybody and playing." 

If you would like to help, you can find the GoFundMe page here