Fight! Work!…PLAY!!!


By Mona Pinon

I am a mom to a 5 year old boy who is a cancer survivor and has a spinal cord injury.

Isaac was diagnosed with Stage 4 Neuroblastoma when he was just 3 1/2 months old. Two weeks after his diagnosis he was paralyzed when the tumor in his chest swelled causing injury to his spinal cord. I have been his advocate from day one. Most recently I started The Blue Slide Project, to build a wheelchair accessible playground at his school.

I had this dream of my son playing with freedom but time was not on my side. Isaac would be starting school as a kindergartner and my team had 4 months to raise $50K. To a lot of people this seemed like an impossible task. I first prayed and ask God to give me the strength to take on this project. I prayed a lot, I cried a lot and I fought A LOT. I remained focused and constantly told myself, “You can not let your son go to school with nothing to play on”. I used the negative comments and harsh words as fuel to keep me going. When I felt like giving up, I thought about Isaac’s journey and how if he would have given up at any time, he would not be here today. His fight for life inspired me to keep going when the odds were not in my favor.

Having ZERO money for fundraisers, I went into the community and asked for donations. I was never to proud to ask for something knowing it was going to benefit The Blue Slide Project. Our community was very receptive and rallied behind me. It took a lot of work, and I was super dedicated to making sure that no child was ever left on the side lines, watching, wishing they too could play. The playground is where you meet your best friend, where you build your social skills and where you can be a kid and have fun.

I am proud to say that after 4 months of fundraising our efforts were successful!! We have the ONLY wheelchair accessible playground in Grants Pass, Oregon and Josephine County. I would like to do more in my community, in Oregon and in the US. The spinal cord injury community is a minority which means we have to fight harder for what others are freely given. I am not the type to look around and complain and wish things were different.

I want to be the BACKBONE for Isaac until he is able to be his own.

Visit Blue Slide Project.

Isaac celebrating his 5th birthday. Best birthday gift ever! 



  1. Jenny Addis
    September 21, 2012

    Isaac & Mona!
    You’re a dynamic & inspiring duo!!
    Isaac…I have to say that photo of your first day of school on September 11th was the most inspiring photo I’ve seen in my whole life.
    Mona…you are the epitome of what a mother stands for. I look forward to the Blue Slide Project coming to schools everywhere.
    Isaac you were a blessing from God to us all! You’re a special kid & I’m so excited to hear more about you in the future!! A forever Inspiration. Thank you for touching my <3!!

    You 2 Rock!!
    Jenny Addis (fellow BACKBONE)

  2. Sandy
    September 22, 2012

    Thank you for sharing your story. You warmed my heart with your selfless acts of love, kindness, giving and tenacity. You are surely the face of God in your desire to give your son and children with SCI a chance at a integrated “normal” life. Blessings to you and yours.

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