Hannah's Red Rocket Endowment Fund
This fund was started in August of 2013 by Heather and Michael Thompson, Hannah's parents. Heather and Michael established this fund to assist Morton area parks, schools, library, and other charitable organizations in providing individuals with disabilities or special needs inclusive recreation opportunities, by supporting the purchase of “accessible” and/or "adaptive" (hereinafter "Accessible") equipment for public spaces in the Morton area.
Heather Walters Thompson grew up in Morton. After having lived elsewhere for twenty years, Heather, her husband Michael and their five year-old daughter, Hannah, moved back to Central Illinois in August of 2007 when Michael accepted a position at Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington. Michael, Heather and Hannah were all excited about this new chapter in their lives. Soon after the family moved to Illinois, Hannah was diagnosed with an inoperable and untreatable brain tumor. The only thing Hannah’s family could do was to pledge that Hannah’s remaining days would be happy ones, filled with love and laughter.
From the time she was a baby, one of Hannah’s very favorite things to do was to ride on a swing. Once her condition progressed so that she could no longer use a traditional park swing, Hannah’s parents found a park near their home in Normal that had a large, red adaptive swing. At first, Hannah was reluctant to use it, but with some encouragement from her friends, Hannah was soon swinging on the “Red Rocket”, as the swing was promptly nicknamed. This simple thing, a red park swing, made all the difference to Hannah and her family over the next few months. It meant that she could still play at the park with her friends; that she could still experience that soaring feeling she so loved. Hannah rode in the “Red Rocket” often throughout the fall of 2007. As Hannah’s condition worsened, her family decided to move from Normal to Morton, where they would be closer to the family support they needed. There was no “Red Rocket” in a Morton park, and by spring of 2008, Hannah was no longer able to swing. She passed away May 2, 2008, just seven months after her diagnosis.
Five years after her death, Hannah’s family has decided to honor the spirit of their brave and beautiful daughter by establishing “Hannah’s Red Rocket”, a designated endowment fund for providing adaptive swings and other adaptive playground equipment for Morton parks and school playgrounds.
If you would like to make a tax deductible donation to this endowment fund, please click the button below for online donations. Or, you can mail a check to 105 E. Jefferson Street, Morton, IL 61550.