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Exclusive: Two Treynor mothers unite on a mission for their children

Two mothers use their pain for purpose by creating a space for families
Posted at 7:06 PM, Mar 16, 2022

TREYNOR, Iowa. (KMTV) — Women's History Month is a time to reflect on the past and recognize those pushing the needle forward.

Two mothers, Wendy Andersen and Lisa White are using their pain for a purpose by creating a space for families.

On Nov. 13, 2015, Lisa White's son Tristan was conditioning for wrestling.

"He was complaining about the running. He liked all sports. Did not like running, complaining about it. Just get out there, get it done and you'll be finished with it. That is not what happened," White said.

While running, Tristan encountered a speeding driver who failed to slow down. He was hit and killed instantly.

"We have five kids and the house has always been loud but he was a prankster, the jokester, and you notice that. That and just the table gets a little bit quieter. There's really something to be said for that empty chair," White said.

Andersen's life changed when her son, Dexter, was diagnosed with tuberous sclerosis at six months old. At the age of 5, he was diagnosed with autism.

"My dream is just to normalize this. I have had people — I mean, my son's 13 now — and we've gone to playgrounds and I've had people look at me. Other parents look at me and say 'don't you think he's too old to be out here?' My answer is like 'no, I'm not too old to be out here either,' " Andersen said.

Both women are using their stories by leading the construction of Dexter's Dream Playground and Tristan's Trail. A place where families can play, run and hang out. There will also be a splash pad.

"Treynor really does need something like that. Our runners still are running on the streets in the morning. We've got a nice track, but mile after mile on a track gets boring. A lot of people don't realize that Tristan was the third boy who got hit within a matter of a few years," White said.

"Every ounce of this facility is being designed from an inclusive standpoint because we want everybody, regardless of age, because quite frankly I love to go to the playground and play with my kids too. We're like 0-100 and whatever will be able to come out and play on this playground," Andersen said.

It's the embodiment of a mother's love, coupled with determination.

"We're gonna figure out a way to make it happen. That's what we do when we love our children. We make these dreams come true," Andersen said.

"It's just nice to hear his name, and people don't forget him if he's not missing from your daily life. You don't really notice it anymore. It's nice that this is how he'll be remembered," White said.

The goal is to get the playground open by next summer. It's a one-acre fun park. So far, they've purchased land on East Main Street and won numerous grants.

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