"Kayla's Krew" building playground for kids of all abilities with butterflies

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by Nate Kuester

FRANKLIN -- The passing of a little girl has sparked a movement for a worthy cause in a Southeastern Wisconsin town.

Folks in the community of Franklin seem to be obsessed with butterflies these days. And for good reason.

"It's a symbol of her and her spirit," said Kayla's mother Shelly Runte.

Runte and her family said goodbye to Kayla more than a year ago. Though she was bound to a wheelchair, Kayla never let Cerebral Palsy keep her from loving life or playing with her friends. However, her physical limitations proved difficult when it came to traditional playgrounds.

As it turns out, her love of the butterfly pins that she often wore are now part of an effort by the group "Kayla's Krew"-- which is affiliated with the 501 (c)(3) non-profit Penfield Children Center--to build a playground. Once built, the playground will be dedicated in her memory for kids of all abilities. Kayla's mother knew it was something she wanted to pursue with those who joined her in the project.

"Well, how are we going to go about fundraising," Runte remembered asking of herself and the group. "We thought, 'You know what?' People have told me, 'You should sell those. You should sell those.'"

Now they sell the butterfly clips by the hundereds.

Kayla's spirit lives on today as her family and friends at Ben Franklin Elementary School in Franklin have adopted the butterfly, and are working hard to build a playground Kayla could have played at along with them. They have an upcoming fundraising event at the 14th annual Franklin Police and Fire spaghetti dinner.

The dinner will take place Thursday, October 17 at the Polish Center of Wisconsin--located at 6941 South 68th Street in Franklin. The event runs from 4:00 pm to 8:00 pm. You can find more information on the Kayla's Krew website at www.kaylaskrew.org. The organization is on Facebook as well.

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