Obituary: Olivia Bloomfield, 10, Leawood grade schooler who championed inclusive playgrounds

"Born with congenital muscular dystrophy, Olivia made it her superpower. In her 10 years, she accomplished a lifetime of work and service, locally, nationally and globally."

Olivia Paige Bloomfield passed away July 5, 2022, in Colorado Springs, Colorado, surrounded by the family she loved and who loved her dearly.

Born January 19, 2012, in Rochester, Minnesota, to Sara and Matt Bloomfield, Olivia lived in Chicago for 18 months before she and her family moved to Leawood.

“O,” as she was known to her family and closest friends, had many interests and passions, but none more important to her than being big sister to six-year-old Emily.

Olivia loved books so much that she taught herself to read at age three and moved quickly to chapter books and the daily newspaper. A rising fifth grader at Corinth Elementary School, she also loved learning, her teachers and the many friends she made along the way.

To know Olivia was to be enriched. And to watch her zoom around in her power wheelchair was to witness the essence of how she lived her life. She had places to go, new friends to make and much to contribute.

Born with congenital muscular dystrophy, Olivia made it her superpower. In her 10 years, she accomplished a lifetime of work and service, locally, nationally and globally. She was a fearless and tireless advocate for accessibility and inclusion, championing inclusive playgrounds throughout Kansas City and beyond, because, as she pointed out, “Everybody deserves a chance to play.”

Olivia’s efforts in Kansas City also inspired a world-class inclusive playground in Salina, Kansas. The playground was named “Olivia’s Playground,” and she spoke at its dedication ceremony in 2019.

Widely known and respected for her activism and leadership around inclusivity, Olivia was the youngest recipient ever to receive The Kansas City Independent’s Rising Star Award in 2022 for her work in the community and school district. Olivia’s work also inspired a global urban playground design competition focused on inclusivity. She was named the 2021 Champion of the competition and was invited to Chicago to present the award to the winner of the Most Inclusive Design category.

Always up for a mental challenge, Olivia competed nightly against her mom and dad on Wordle (note: she won almost every day). Her other interests included travel and experiencing new places, despite the difficulties and challenges involved. A football fan as well, her love for the Chiefs and Patrick Mahomes was perhaps eclipsed only by her dislike of Tom Brady.

Olivia loved life and had so much joy in her heart. Her smile lit up the world. She would want her family, friends, teachers and supporters to know how much she loved them and appreciated all they did to make her life as rich and special as it was.

Olivia is survived by her parents, Matt and Sara, and her adoring little sister, Emily, as well as her grandparents, Sheryl Bloomfield, Sid and Susy Reitz, and Candy Siko. She was preceded in death by her grandfather, Tim Bloomfield.

She is also survived by dozens of aunts, uncles and cousins whom she adored.

The Bloomfield family would also like to thank Katy Keefover, Olivia’s beloved nanny and friend for nine years, Deb Wiebrecht of Variety KC, who served as a mentor to Olivia for the past six years and the staff at Corinth Elementary and at the Lee Ann Britain Infant Development Center for the tremendous care and support over the years.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to the newly created Olivia Bloomfield Foundation, which will continue Olivia’s legacy by driving accessibility, inclusion, and medical research: www.oliviabloomfieldfoundation.org.