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Southwest Orange Wednesday, Oct. 20, 2021 3 months ago

Sinclairs raising funds for Addi’s Memorial Park

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Addison Sinclair, who died in December 2020 at the age of 8, loved the park and picnics and thought the green space next to their house should have a picnic table and swing.
by: Amy Quesinberry Community Editor

Addison Sinclair’s bedroom window faced a small green space she thought would be perfect for a picnic table and a swing to enjoy while watching the sunset.

Addi died Dec. 29, 2020, at the age of 8 after fighting cancer for more than half her life — but her family is determined to fulfill their daughter’s wish and fill the green space in their Summerport neighborhood with the amenities Addi loved.

The neighborhood board has approved the fundraising efforts of Mark and Kara Sinclair and has agreed to handle the maintenance and liability of the park, to be named Addi’s Memorial Park.

The Sinclairs didn’t hold a formal burial but still want to memorialize their little girl with the easy smile who loved her big brother, William; loved her collection of Disney princess dresses; and enjoyed being a Daisy Girl Scout, making crafts, creating stories, singing and dancing.

“Addison always said that the area was missing a picnic table and a swing to watch the sunset on. We are hoping to incorporate both of these items, along with the park and the pre-existing green space,” Kara Sinclair said.

The current plan includes slides, a climbing structure, rock wall, picnic table, benches and a swing. The cost is $38,000.

Some playground equipment was placed there several years ago, but it was removed for safety regulations, Kara Sinclair said, and there isn’t money in the Summerport budget to replace it anytime soon.

The park will give the Sinclairs some comfort knowing their daughter’s dream is coming true; their life has been empty for the last 10 months.

“We miss her laughter and her smile; we miss everything about her,” Kara Sinclair said. “The last few months have been terribly hard. We know the upcoming holidays will be brutal at times. The holidays were Addison’s favorite time of year, and (it’s) also the anniversary of her passing.”

William, who was born 14 months before his sister, is doing as well as he can following Addi’s death, Kara Sinclair said.

The Sinclair family wants to fulfill daughter Addi’s dream of having a park next to their home in Summerport.

“He has been exposed to so much since he was only 5 years old when Addison was diagnosed,” she said. “We tried very hard to keep his childhood as normal and happy as possible, but we know the stressful years of her treatment and the unpredictability of our lives — followed by her death — is a lot for him to process. Our home is painfully quiet at times, and I know that he misses his sister. We are trying to adjust to our new normal of being a family of three. It’s hard. We are beyond proud of William.”

Addi was diagnosed with stage IV cancer in August 2015, when she was 3. She underwent an aggressive 54-week protocol of treatment, surgeries and radiation and was in remission for only five months before the rare cancer returned. It returned eight times over the next six years. Addi endured 13 surgeries, three rounds of radiation, and many chemotherapy medicines, pokes and tests, and she even went to several naturopaths and explored many holistic therapies with her family.

Throughout it all, the Sinclairs were determined to make the most of every day and every moment together.

“The park makes sense to us,” Kara Sinclair said. “Her bedroom overlooks the area. This is where she played with her friends and we made so many memories. … We do think the park will be a perfect tribute because we know too well that childhood is such a brief period of time, even for the healthiest of kids,” she said. “Kids deserve to be kids. Kids deserve to play. All of our kids have had a crazy few years.”

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Amy Quesinberry is the community editor of the West Orange Times & Observer and the Windermere Observer. She was born and raised in Winter Garden, grew up reading the community newspaper and has been employed there as a writer, photographer and editor since 1990....

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