Darby school hopes to build playground to honor teacher

DARBY, Pa. - April 24, 2014

Everybody wanted a hug when Rick "Pop Pop" Kearney returned to Walnut Street Elementary after a yearlong absence battling Liposarcoma.

Pop Pop lost his leg to the cancer a few years ago and won't be returning to Walnut Elementary. His doctors say even with treatment he has only two years to live.

When the school decided to dedicate its new playground to Pop Pop, his family was determined that it wouldn't be a memorial - they want to be sure Pop Pop gets to enjoy it.

Pop Pop's son, Ryan Kearney, says, "We'd love to get a chance to have him see everything done, and get to play with it with his grandkids."

With the help of the Kearney family, the school has raised more than $16,000 just this month. They need $50,000 to purchase equipment - equipment they have to pay for themselves because of what Pop Pop describes as a severe inequity between rich and poor districts like his.

"In the school where my kids went, they had a guidance counselor for every grade. Some schools give laptop computers to their kids. Class size ... we have one counselor for two schools," Pop Pop explained.

And not only are there no laptop computers, boys have basketball courts... but no nets or rims.

The hope is the school will have enough money to break ground on the new playground by September.

If you'd like to make a donation visit gofundme.com/walnutstplayground.

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