An Outdoor Complex for Individuals of All Abilities
Steve Adubato sits down with Christian Kane, Founder of Toms River Field of Dreams, to talk about his son, Gavin, and how he inspired him to build an outdoor complex designed to benefit individuals with special needs and disabilities.
"Think Tank is pleased to welcome Christian Kane, who is the founder of Toms River Field of Dreams. Good to see you Christian. Thanks Steve. Thanks for having me. You have a fascinating story, and a fascinating life, and you're making a huge difference. Your son Gavin is eight years of age, and when he was 19 months old, what happened? As I was waiting to make... We're actually looking at Gavin as you're talking? Yeah. Yeah, he's a great kid. As I was waiting to make a turn into my high school, a loaded beer truck ran through us. And... You're a teacher? Yeah. At High School North in Toms River. And... A beer truck? A beer truck going on its route. And when it was all said and done, it was a scene that I would never want any other parent to ever see. And Gavin suffered a traumatic brain injury. A right front temporal stroke. And basically, you know, he was breathless when I took him out of the car. When I was able to get him out of the car. So the idea for this Field of Dreams? Yeah. Comes from that experience? Comes from that experience, as Gavin started to get better. When the doctor said, "Listen,you may need to find him a home." And we found him a home. Which is ours. We decided to build a playground in our backyard. And then Gavin wanted to play with his other friends. And that's when the whole thing started, when we went to public playgrounds that were, quote unquote, "all-inclusive". Right. We couldn't get him to go down the slide. We couldn't fit him on the swings. We couldn't get him to other... Right. ...places. And that's where this Field of Dreams then started. You say what to yourself? That this isn't fair. That this... And your wife? Yeah. And that... and with my wife, I mean, on March of 2017, she went to an all-inclusive playground. Tried to get Gavin on one of those big red swings. She's 100 pounds. He's 70. He couldn't... she couldn't get him on. And she was looking around. It was one of those beautiful days in March, and there were plenty of moms and dads around, with their kids running around. She was looking for help. Parents would look up from their phones, stare at her and put her head back down. Nobody helped? That's... nobody helped. And that's where it started. When she came home and she said, "Listen, I know you want to build this baseball field for special needs leagues, but it's got to be more than that. It's got to be a place where people..."