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TVNZ viewers raise $25k in 30 minutes for young activist's disability swing crusade

Thirteen-year-old Wellingtonian Cyrus Dahl wants to make sure every person can enjoy the swings at a park. 

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Cyrus, 13, and his mum Kris says all children of all abilities should be able to play at a park. Source: Breakfast

But, because he has cerebral palsy, he can’t use the regular seats at his local Tawhai Raunui Play Area in Woodridge. 

So Cyrus sprung into action, lobbying the Wellington City Council and setting up his own interview with Breakfast today. 

When council said it didn’t currently have the money for the swing in its playground budget, he started a Givealittle page to fundraise $25,000 for a specially-designed bucket swing, which will be the first in the entire Wellington region. The swings have a tall back, which helps people sit up in the seat. 

His mum, Kris, said Cyrus started the project after he went on holiday in Taranaki, where every park he went to had an accessible swing. 

“It opened up Cyrus' world to being able to swing and we wanted to come back to Wellington and try and encourage our local parks to include these swings as well,” she told Breakfast. 

“Cyrus came back up from holidays and he said he felt sad because he spent a lot of time watching other kids playing.” 

The pair said they wanted to make sure kids and adults of all abilities had the chance to play. 

She said the council was “super”, and helped get the ball rolling. 

While Cyrus was starting local for now, “our great wish would be they’re in all parks”, Kris said.

Just under $5000 had been raised prior to this morning's interview. But by the time Breakfast went off air at 9am, about 30 minutes after the 13-year-old appeared, generous Kiwis had donated nearly $30,000 for the project. 

Speaking to 1 NEWS after their appearance on Breakfast, Kris said “Cyrus nearly jumped out of his skin" as he saw the donations flooding in from hundreds of people. 

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Cyrus Dahl, 13, made a plea today on national TV, and Kiwis responded in droves. Source: 1 NEWS

"All the way home after the interview hearing about how the numbers were rising … it’s just amazing. We really want to thank everyone for their support."

With nearly $35,000 raised by 1.30pm, $10,000 more than their goal, Kris said they wanted to see if they could get more than one set of the bucket swings installed in more parks.

Find out more about the project on Givealittle.