playground for roya
A sample illustration of the new playground. The final equipment will be chosen by the Town of North Hempstead after a review process.

Positivity, community-building, random acts of kindness: These are the legacy of community member Roya Doovidnia, who lost her battle to cancer in 2001. They are also the foundations of the “A Playground for Roya” fundraiser, a mission to build a playground in her memory.

Doovidnia died of a rare form of cancer known as Ewing’s Sarcoma at 18 years old. It was a significant loss for her loved ones, but not significant enough to overshadow the massive positive impact of her life. She is remembered by her friends and family as a smiling, thoughtful girl whose gratitude and positivity were overflowing. 

Twenty years later, Doovidnia’s sister, Rozalin, is honoring her memory with a fundraiser to build a state-of-the-art playground at Whitney Pond Park in Manhasset. The playground is the perfect way to continue the positive impact of Doovidnia, who had planned on becoming an elementary school teacher, Rozalin says. To date, the GoFundMe has raised more than $20,000 of its $50,000 goal. 

The fundraiser’s goal is to provide a community playground “where children of all ages are excited to go,” Rozalin writes on the GoFundMe page. “The kind of playground that makes adults wish they were kids again or better yet, get them in on the action, playing along with their children. One that would make Roya proud and worthy of bearing her name.”

Some ideas for the new playground include a zip line, a large multi-activity play center, a Ninja Warrior-style obstacle course, a swing set with traditional and specialty swings, and more. Town of North Hempstead will choose the final installations after a visioning and design process.

Site of the new playground at Whitney Pond Park.

In addition to the GoFundMe, there will also be an end-of-summer fundraising bash at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 29 at Whitney Pond Park. The fundraising event (emphasis on fun) will include entertainment from puppeteer and comedian Harrison Bryan, music from DJ Wyze, and other kid-friendly surprises. This event has a recommended donation of $25 per family to help the fundraiser reach its goal.

If you’re like Roya and are passionate about creating a fun, positive environment for both kids and the community at large, come on down with the family for the fundraising event. To learn more, visit the GoFundMe.

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