The Baylor Student Nurses Association (BSNA) of Baylor University Louise Herrington School of Nursing (LHSON) asked senior engineering design students from Baylor University in Waco to build a special therapeutic swing for the Ronald McDonald House of Dallas (RMHD). The swing will be presented to RMHD on Wednesday, May 10 at 2:00 p.m. at 4707 Bengal Street, Dallas, Texas 75235.
Last year, a group of Baylor senior design engineering students constructed a similar swing for the special needs daughter of Dr. Jason Whitt, associate director of the Baylor Institute for Faith and Learning. The custom “Camille Big Girl Swing” was designed in 2016 to bring joy and comfort to this little girl’s lifelong battle with a genetic condition that limits her development and motor skills. It is particularly important for Camille because she cannot use standard swings due to her delicate condition but gentle rhythm improves her brain equilibrium and inspires connection with her surroundings.
BSNA has a long association with the RMHD and when the students saw the swing for Camille they immediately thought of the RMHD. Dedicated to helping more children like Camille a group of Baylor senior engineering students (class of May 2017) decided to take “Swing ‘Em Bears” as their capstone project. The students quickly began the process of building a similar swing for children who stay at RMHD. Established in 1981, Ronald McDonald House of Dallas has served as a home-away-from-home for more than 37,000 families of seriously ill or injured children who have traveled to Dallas seeking medical treatment in area hospitals. By providing a caring, supportive, home-like environment, Ronald McDonald House of Dallas keeps the family intact and helps allow a family to establish a normal routine amid crisis. “We are honored to have been chosen by the Baylor Student Nurses Association and Baylor’s Engineering team as a recipient of the Camille Big Girl Swing” said Maggie Herell, Marketing and Communications Manager at RMHD. “We serve over 3,750 individuals each year and all of them have different needs. Having this swing will allow us to serve children with a variety of special needs.”
Taylor McCants, senior engineering student said, “The senior design team met with the nursing school contributors of the project at RMHD in January. We discussed design ideas and brainstormed functionalities that we thought were important for the swing,” said McCants. “After that, the engineering group has worked hard to make this dream come true. There has been a nursing school representative at each of our presentations about the swing. They have shown their support and involvement through the process. It is nice to know that they are just as passionate about this swing as our engineering group.”
BSNA actively fundraised for the swing for the RMHD with a goal to raise $2,000 through events such as: Swing ‘Em Bears bake sale at the nursing school; selling Swing ‘Em Bears long-sleeve t-shirts and hosting a community fundraiser at Chipotle restaurant in Dallas. “We are excited to be working with our colleagues at Baylor to bring a swing to the Ronald McDonald House,” said Kaitlyn Po, BSNA president. “BSNA has a long tradition of helping the RMHD and we wanted to do something special for those children and their families!” That sentiment is shared by staff at Ronald McDonald House of Dallas. Amy Hatfield, Chief Operating Officer at RMHD, said, “We are so grateful for the relationship between BSNA and RMHD. They have a long history of supporting the House, which is crucial to fulfilling our mission of keeping families close to each other and the care they need.”
The new swing for the RMHD will include improved aesthetic and functionality such as: the ability to hold 100 pounds; easily store in a closet and moved by two people; enhanced aesthetic style; the seat will be a “Soft-Touch sitter” holding 50-100lb, 65” and built in 5-point harness; the motor will be an electric gear motor; the swing could be adjusted and able to change the angle to get a better swinging sensation (up to 45 degrees); and the power source would be a standard wall outlet.