Family of girl with rare disorder needs help opening special playground

Scarlet Clark is a little girl with a well-known grandpa, whose fighting spirit inspires everyone around her. Now, the 5-year-old is looking to bring smiles to the faces of other children in metro Detroit. 

Scarlet was diagnosed when she was about 10 months old with Spinal Muscular Atrophy, or SMA. That means she's missing a gene that keeps her muscles healthy. 

A few years later she was able to start taking a certain drug, and her family saw progress in her movements within days. She continues to make progress with her movements every day, too, with special therapy. 

Since then, her family has broken ground on a special playground in her honor at Dodge Park #5 in Commerce Township.

"What we found out is a couple years ago, before she was starting this process of getting a little stronger, we'd take her to playgrounds that are advertised as barrier free and all acess - and they're wonderful places - but the philosophy tends to be to put the special equipment over here and all the other equipment over here," says her grandfather, Stephen Clark. 

"So we found out Scarlet loved playing on the playground but then she looked over and saw the other kids."

Scarlet's Playground will cater to both able-bodied children as well as those with disabilities.

The playground their family has designed will be about the biggest in the Midwest, and certainly the biggest in Michigan. Their family is still finishing up raising the money they need to complete the playground.

"We're about three years in and we have $800,000," Clark tells us. They're looking to get $1 million. 

So, Scarlet is inviting everyone to a special part this weekend to help her family meet their goal. 

Scarlet's Smile Hugs and Kisses Valentines Party is Feb. 9 in Commerce, Mich. Included are strolling appetizers and desserts from local vendors and a bourbon, beer, and wine tasting. 

You can get more information and purchase tickets online at

If you can't make it to the event and would like to make a donation, you can still do so via their website.