The City of Kyle and the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Central Texas have teamed up to turn one boy's dream into a reality. 10-year-old Ash Crane has long hoped for a roller-hockey rink where he and other kids could play his favorite sport.
The groundbreaking is scheduled for January 21, a special date for Ash.
"My birthday is January 21," Ash said. It's a present two years in the making, intended to turn Ash's eleventh birthday into one he will never forget. Although, for Ash, each birthday is already a miracle.
"Even with the surgeries, we were told he would have a 30 percent chance of survival to three," said Ash's mother, Lisa Crane. Ash was diagnosed with hypoplastic left-heart syndrome before he was born, meaning only two of his four heart chambers function normally.
"I've always said he has such a big heart, God only let him bring half," Lisa said.
After three open-heart surgeries, Ash's heart is still at risk of failing, which is why seeing him enjoy every second is so important to his family. "We've done all this work to keep him alive and all he wants to do is play hockey," said Lisa.
"I grew up playing hockey in Colorado and then, when I moved down here, I started playing in my driveway," Ash said. When he turned eight, Ash's parents reached out to Make-A-Wish Foundation of Central Texas.
"They asked me what would I like for my wish, and I said, 'A hockey rink,' because I wanted to play more hockey instead of just in my driveway and I also wanted more kids to play hockey," said Ash.
With a $600,000 price tag, Make-A-Wish knew they would need the City of Kyle on board to turn Ash's dream into a reality. "So Ash has asked for a large roller-hockey rink and, it just so happened that the City of Kyle had some money budgeted for a covered pavilion," said Kyle City Manager Scott Sellers.
Thursday, several Kyle business owners chipped in, meaning they are only $80,000 away from their goal. "It's been a needed project in Kyle, but I don't think that's why everyone's donated. They've donated because of this young man," Sellers said.
The city expects to complete the Ash pavilion and roller-hockey rink at Gregg-Clarke Park in June. "I think it's a better location than playing hockey in my driveway because of how big it's going to be," said Ash. The Crane family is anxiously awaiting the day they get to see the final product.
"I'm very excited, not just that it's going to be named after me, but I'm excited to see how many kids play," Ash said. Kyle City Council is expected to approve phase one of the project Monday.