Local family reflects on the loss of their son one year ago

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- Exactly one year ago, five-year-old Bennett McClurken-Gibney passed away after his battle with Spinal Muscular Atrophy.

His parents, Kara McClurken and Brian Gibney, are still heartbroken about the loss of their son.

"Learning to live without him was going to be one of the hardest lessons that he was going to teach me and a year in, I don't know that I'm any closer to learning that lesson," said McClurken. "It's incredibly hard. We miss his laughter, and his smile and his humor."

Over the last year, they have been looking to turn their loss into a positive for the Charlottesville area.

They have been raising awareness about their desire for an all-abilities park in Charlottesville and hosted numerous fundraisers for it.

They have raised more than $90,000 for the park, and they are still looking to raise more.

"One of the amazing things about telling his story and talking to people about Bennett and how amazing he was is that we've met so many people," said McClurken.

"As people learn about Bennett's Village, they really want to support the cause," said Gibney.

They are both certain that Bennett's Village will come to life in Charlottesville and his legacy will live on through the happiness the park will provide for families in the future.

"It's going to happen. Charlottesville is a wonderful city," said Gibney. "There's a definite need, there's a huge community that would benefit from it. I don't see it from question of if, but when."

The Charlottesville City Council will hold initial discussions about Bennett's Village on March 18.

The family asks people who support the project write to one of the councilors or show support at the meeting by attending.

For more information about Bennett's Village, click on the link in the Related Links box.

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