Play 4 Rex Foundation has partnered with the Children’s Miracle Network to provide funds to Hendrick Medical Center for the building of a pediatric rehabilitation facility.
Lance Fleming, sports information director, and wife Jill Fleming founded Play 4 Rex (P4X) in honor of their late son Rex, who passed away from brain cancer in 2012. In the beginning, the foundation started out small.
“Rex always liked to have something in his hand, like an iPod or a phone, something to play games or listen to music while he was going through his treatment,” Fleming said.
Because of this, they raised money to donate devices, such as iPods and iPad minis, to children to play with at Cook Children’s Hospital in Fort Worth, where Rex was treated and Hendricks Medical Center in Abilene, but after that ran its course, Fleming said they wanted to do something bigger.
The foundation gave $25,000 to the Hendrick Hospice facility built a couple years ago, Fleming said. They payed for a room dedicated to Rex that has TVs, video games, and other things for either kids who are in hospice or there visiting family or friends. They also gave $20,000 to the West Texas Rehab Center to redo their therapy kitchen about two years ago.
However, they still wanted to do more.
“Rob Wiley [their children’s pediatrician and family friend] came to Jill and I about a year and a half ago with the idea that Hendrick needed to expand their rehabilitation facility,” Fleming said. “They’ve got this building they’re going to expand, that they use for occupational therapy, so they came to us, and we’re partnering with them and the Children’s Miracle Network, and we committed to $250,000 to give to them for that project.”
The building will be dedicated to Rex, and there will be an area inside with Rex’s photo and information about him. The building will be for pediatric patients only and will be about 4200 square feet. The building they are expanding and building onto isn’t even half the size, Fleming said.
“It will have private treatment rooms … it will have a big area in the middle for a gym and zip line and all that kind of stuff they can work on grip,” Fleming said. “So a lot of the same stuff that Rex had to do, had to relearn after both of his brain surgeries.”
The facility is projected to open in August 2019.
“We wanted to do something that would make an impact on families in Abilene and the big country and the area for years to come. Not just something that’s small and gonna run its course in two to three years. We wanted something that’s gonna have a lasting impact,” Fleming said. “Kids are always gonna need some sort of rehab, because unfortunately there’s always gonna be a need, and so we wanted to meet that need where we are, and that’s here.”
“Rex had a great heart for people and wanted to help people,” Fleming said. “So we’re just trying to live up to that and do what we think he would want us to do.”