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Kids Castle’s Dawn Byers’ passing is a profound loss


The name Dawn Byers is synonymous with optimism, passion, energy and joy. And, perhaps nowhere are all of those exceptional attributes more visible than at Kids Castle in Doylestown Township.
The beloved “matriarch” of the sprawling playground in the community’s Central Park died Nov. 27, following a courageous, four-year battle with ovarian cancer. She was 51.
“While Dawn herself would have told you that Kids Castle exists because of a community effort made up of volunteers, local businesses, caring donors and the township – if you asked any one of those people why Kids Castle exists, they would all tell you without hesitation that it is because of Dawn Byers,” said Joe Salvati, chairman of The Friends of Kids Castle, in a letter to the community.
“Not only is it true that her unrelenting will and ability was the reason why Kids Castle was built in 1996, Dawn is also the reason why Kids Castle has been successfully sustained as a precious gift to the community over the past 24 years,” Salvati said.
While Kids Castle may have been her “passion project,” Byers also generously devoted her time and talents to many other community-minded programs. Among those are the nonprofit educational initiative CB Cares, First Night Doylestown, Bucks Beautiful, Bucks County Children’s Museum, the American Red Cross, Habitat for Humanity, the Katrina Relief Fund and Goals Beyond the Net. She most recently served as a constituent outreach specialist for a local state representative, said her family.

After her diagnosis in 2017, Byers turned her tireless energy toward raising awareness about ovarian cancer. She was asked to speak at Fox Chase Cancer Center and Seeds of Hope Garden Party for Cancer Research.
“Dawn passionately shared her story, providing hope and support for others through her energy, enthusiasm and optimism,” said her family.
Byers grew up in Audubon, N.J., graduated from Bishop Eustace High School in 1987 and attended Drexel University on a field hockey scholarship. She graduated in 1991 with a degree in corporate communications. Dawn met her husband Jeff Byers at Drexel and the couple moved to Bucks County, where they raised their children, Ashlyn and Jake.
Byers is survived by her husband and children, as well as her mother, Sandy and stepfather, Dale; father, Tom Hagan; sisters, Tracy, Lisa, Shelly and Christie and her brother, Tommy. Services are scheduled at Reed and Steinbach Funeral Home on Dec. 19, with visitation from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., followed by a service.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to “Build the Kingdom at Kids Castle.”