A Special Space

Three-year-old Evie was diagnosed with leukemia two and a half years ago.

“It was devastating, we were shocked,” said Kristin Brown, Evie’s mother. “A cancer diagnosis especially for a family can be very lonely.”

Even after concluding 28 months of chemotherapy, Evie’s sprits were still high and made even higher when she was chosen to get the first room make over from the new Chicagoland Chapter of Special Spaces.

Special Spaces is a national group that redesigns the bedrooms of children with life-threatening illnesses.

“We meet with the child and ask them, ‘What’s your favorite color?’ ‘What’s your favorite animal?’ ‘What’s your favorite [television] character,’” explained Kelly Knox, the Director of the Chicagoland Chapter of Special Spaces.

And Evie’s responses turned into Knox’s inspiration.

“She likes princesses and she showed us her castle and American girl doll,” said Knox. “That’s where the castle theme was born.”

Waubonsie Valley High School sponsored Evie’s room by giving $3,000 and volunteers to the project.

Since November, students created room décor in class including the curtains and bedding, turning everyday learning into a chance to make a difference.

“I think it’s good for the students to think outside their own life and their own world and to help someone in need,” said Waubonsie Valley High School teacher Gayle Thanepohn. “Hopefully it’s something that can continue throughout their lifetime.”
“I’ve volunteered since I was little and I’m always looking for new ways to help out,” said Waubonsie Valley High School freshman Francisca Caviedes. “This was perfect.”

After a nine-hour workday, the room was ready for Evie; a new space to offer new comfort.

“I hope she finds peace,” said Knox. “I hope her family gets a lot of joy from this room and I hope Evie lives in this room for a very long time.”

As a bonus, Evie’s two brothers, Jack and Tommy also got a new room, for their love and support of their little sister.

The Chicagoland Chapter of Special Spaces relies on donations to make the dream rooms possible. For more information visit specialspaces.org.

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