Special Space For Girl

The not-for-profit Special Spaces Chicagoland gathered a crew of professionals to do everything they could to makeover the room of three -year-old Ella Casten.

Just after her first birthday, the preschooler was diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy, a degenerative, neuromuscular disease that’s terminal and has already caused Ella to lose the ability to walk.

“Really the underlying need that we’re hoping to meet is to show the child that somebody else loves and cares about them and to give them hope for the future that there is, that there’s people who care,” said Kelly Knox, Director, Special Spaces Chicagoland.

People like Joel Weinberger, General Manager of Continental Motors, who decided to jump on board as the corporate sponsor, funding the project as well as participating.

“It’s easy to write a check when you’re trying to help somebody but to actually get your hands dirty and get out a paint brush and hang some curtains and everything else, it’s just been a pleasure,” said Weinberger.

A tree painted on her wall, plus new window treatments, bedding, ceiling fan, and décor are some of the improvements that left Ella speechless when she saw her bedroom as if for the first time.

“It’s beautiful,” said Ella.

Another big addition is an overhead cabinet to hide the various medical equipment Ella needs at night like a by pap to help her breathe.

“It just makes her room feel like a hospital room so we were hoping to have something that would conceal those things during the day when she has friends over and company so that it doesn’t feel like a hospital room,” said her mom, Lindsey Casten. “It just feels like a princess room.”

This is now the 21st room the organization has put together since it started a year and a half ago.”

“It just means the world to me, watching her be so happy and knowing that there’s people out there willing to take time and energy and effort to bring a little bit of joy to a little girl and at the same time helping us take care of her and give her the best possible life that we can give to her,” said Ella’s father, Michael Casten.

In addition to her new room Ella, as well as her siblings, unwrapped gifts donated by a neighbor who found out about Ella’s story and wanted to give the family a little joy.

Special Spaces Chicagoland already has a full slate of rooms to be made over for the rest of the year and even has a waiting list.

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