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The Franklin News-Post
P. O. Box 250
310 Main Street, SW
Rocky Mount, Virginia 24151
540-483-5113
Fax: 540-483-8013

God’s Pit Crew blesses Ferrum girl
Group provided a therapeutic playground for Ava Setliff
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Ava Setliff and her father, Dwight, check out a new kitchen set that is part of a special needs playground installed by God’s Pit Crew.

Monday, April 29, 2013

By STACEY HAIRSTON - Staff Writer

God's Pit Crew (GPC), a non-profit organization based in Danville, has come to the aid of a 6-year-old Ferrum girl by providing her with a therapeutic playground in her own back yard.

Ava Setliff was born with Pfeiffer Syndrome, a rare facial disorder that only affects roughly one in 100,000 births. She has undergone 18 surgical procedures in her short life and will likely continue to have more.

Though her mobility is limited to a walker, she loves to play outdoors when she can and play kickball with her mother, Brandi Setliff.

"She loves being outside, but there is just not a lot she can do," said Brandi.

Ava's parents did not have a lot of money for special playground equipment with Ava's mounting medical bills.

Ava's nurse made a request in 2011 to GPC to have the special playground built, but at the time, GPC was unable to do anything.

"We get so many requests, we can't meet them all so it kind of got pushed back, like many of them do, unfortunately," said GPC founder Randy Johnson.

"But our staff and our people kept bringing this one back to the table over and over again," he said.

Three months ago, coordinating with Ava's physical therapist, Johnson's wife, Terri, followed her heart and ordered the playground equipment.

"Me and Randy just decided we're going to do it by faith," Terri said, and she named the project "Butterfly Kisses for Ava."

The timing turned out to be perfect for Ava, according to her mother, because she is learning to get around on her own, and a playground will help her develop muscles and become more independent.

The nurse also helped pick out the playground with Ava's needs in mind. The set includes special ADA swings with straps, a sliding board, picnic table, climbing wall, covered clubhouse area and a play kitchen set.

"It's just a blessing for something like this to happen because stuff just don't come out of the blue like that," said Ava's father, Dwight Setliff.

With the equipment and landscaping newly installed in the Setliff family's back yard, the cost of the project still looms.

According to Johnson, the total cost is estimated at around $5,500.

"We have already collected about half of that," he said.

GPC is known for traveling out of town and working in other communities, but Johnson says it is neat to work close to home.

"It's neat to help our neighbors and the folks that we live close to in our area, and it's really special to help this family because they didn't ask for this help," said Johnson.

"Ava is having a blast with her new playground and kitchen set," said Johnson. "The first time she saw it, she gave her nurse a high-five."

"Ava wants to play all the time now," said Brandi. "As soon as she gets home, she wants to go outside. I can hardly get her off of this playground. She loves it."

Anyone wishing to give to the "Butterfly Kisses" project can do so by logging on to www.godspitcrew.org. Donations can also be mailed to God's Pit Crew, 2499 N. Main Street, Danville, VA 24540 or by phone at (434) 836-4472.

"Ava's had 18 surgeries to date, and we expect to have many more, so it's definitely worth it to her to have a little happiness," said Brandi.

 
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