COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- The Ronald McDonald House held a ribbon cutting Tuesday, for the new "Liam's Lighthouse," a permanent addition to the playground in memory of Liam Schulze, who died of Hemophagocytic Lymphohistiocytosis at just 20 months old.
While Liam's Lighthouse is now a physical playground feature, the nonprofit "Liam's Lighthouse" has been in existence since long before the installation. The nonprofit was started by his mother Michelle Schulze a few months after Liam passed away.
The family's relationship with Ronald McDonald House Charities started through Liam's sickness, when Liam's mother and grandmother, Rose Ann Podmonick, stayed at a Ronald McDonald house in Cincinnati, Ohio.
They had traveled to the hospital there to get Liam the best possible care, and while they were in a strange city, Podmonick said the Ronald McDonald House became a home away from home.
"We were there for six months, and we actually stayed in a Ronald McDonald House," said Podmonick. "This is our way of giving back to Ronald McDonald for everything they did for us during those six months."
When Podmonick returned to Colorado Springs, she got involved as a volunteer at the city's Ronald McDonald House.
"It just makes me feel so good that what we're doing is helping other families and other children and hopefully giving them a little happiness when they're staying here at Ronald McDonald House," said Podmonick.
Remembering her time at the Ronald McDonald House, Schulze says the ability to work with the charity to bring a permanent feature to the playground in Colorado Springs means the world to her family.
"Everybody here has been so welcoming," said Schulze. "Just like part of the family, and, you know, we can't thank you enough. We're so appreciative of that and to have this opportunity. They made our dream come true here."
You can learn more about Liam's Lighthouse here.
The Ronald McDonald House Charities Southern Colorado is also working to bring in more accessible playground features. If you are interested in donating to those efforts, you can email Development Director Sam Milam at email@example.com for more information.