Playground to be named after youth

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Colton Jones loved to watch all those big trucks haul away trash.

"He loved watching it being hauled up," Open Hands Preschool Director Chris Pestoff said. "That was the highlight of his day. He was your typical 5-year-old (boy)."

On Sunday, Gavin Jones will cut a ribbon in memory of his brother.

Gavin is the younger brother of Colton, who died March 24, 2008, following a lengthy battle with cancer. Colton had attended the Open Hands Preschool and his brother will begin attending this year.

Shortly after Colton died, plans were put into motion to have the Open Hands Preschool playground named after him.

Pestoff said the playground is a Noah's Ark playground made out of recycled milk jugs.

"His parents wanted to do this in his honor," Pestoff said of Andrea and Jason Jones.

A ribbon cutting for the playground has been scheduled for 3 p.m., Sunday, at the preschool, located at the United Methodist Church, 201 N. Meridian St., Brazil.

"It is unique," Pestoff said of the playground, adding she was told the preschool is the only establishment within a 200-mile radius that has a recycled playground.

The playground was designed for children ages 3-5.

When Colton was 2, his parents noticed his swelling in his belly area.

His mother, a nurse, took him to the family physician and, following blood work, a tumor was discovered. Colton was then diagnosed with Hepatoblastoma, a rare cancer of the liver.

In October 2005, Colton underwent surgery to remove the tumor, which lasted approximately six hours.

In March 2006, it was discovered that cancer cells had spread to one of Colton's lungs. Part of his right lung was removed and Colton then had to face chemotherapy.

"This will make his legacy go on forever," Pestoff said. "I think it is the greatest thing."

Pestoff said students at the preschool will begin recycling milk jugs this year to further honor Colton.

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