Room for Joy making dreams come truePosted: Updated:
When your child is in and out of hospitals dealing with a serious medical condition, coming home to recover gives them some peace of mind, but what if they could do it in a room filled with everything they love? Two Valley Chandler kids are going to find out how that feels.
You could say Tory Smock has an eye for decorating and it's through her passion for design that’s making dreams come true.
“We create dream bedrooms for chronically ill children,” Smock said.
Smock and her team spend anywhere from six to eight weeks turning children's bedrooms into dream spaces through her nonprofit organization, Room for Joy. Phoenix Children's Hospital and St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center help them identify the kids.
“This is my bedroom,” Katelyn Dunkelbarger said. “I told them that I wanted it to be pink and black and I wanted it to be a room where I could just lay down and watch TV.”
Dunkelbarger, 17, suffers from a rare autoimmune disease that affects her eyes and the pressures in her brain. Her 8-year-old brother, Wes, has cerebral palsy.
“I find it an amazing organization,” Dunkelbarger said. “I would love to be able to go and help change someone else's life because it's definitely going to change mine.”
“They're making them feel so special and that they're being thought of and cared for by other people that are sorry that they've gone through what they've gone through,” said Katelyn’s mom, Deanna.
And while her daughter likes pink and black, Deanna said Wes is more of "A Bug's Life" kind of kid.
“We sit down with the carpenters, some artists, a couple of other designers and we sort of brainstorm about ideas of what the room is going to become,” Smock said.
Once the plan is in place, the shopping begins. They go to all kinds of places from Hobby Lobby to Lowe's. The team buys and builds everything weeks before the big makeover weekend.
“We start on a Friday and we're actually done on Sunday afternoon at 4 o'clock,” Smock said.
The Dunkelbargers are sent out of the house on a mini vacation while the Room for Joy team and volunteers get down to business. In two and half days, they work round-the-clock to renovate the rooms.
"We couldn't do this without the volunteers," Smock said. "They are such a critical piece and they make it happen.”
Once the transformation is complete, family and friends are invited in.
“They are amazing,” Katelyn said. “I love them all and I want to hug them all.”
“I just knew that it had far exceeded Katelyn's expectations and ours,” Deanna said.
“You can see in the room the care that went into it, the feeling and emotion that went into it,” said Katelyn’s dad, Randy.
“It's about giving back and being able to transform someone's life and make a difference in the life of a child,” Smock said.
Smock said doing the rooms wouldn't be possible without the help of generous donations and supplies from the community.
Southwest Scenic Group
JR McDade Company Inc.
Tempe Mission Palms Hotel
Red, White & Brew
Chandler Fire Department
Cornerstone Christian Fellowship
Robert James Photography
Capture The Moment Photography
Wilde Wiring Inc.
Farrelli's Cinema Supper Club
Water & Ice
Snap Booth Entertainment
Gamez on Wheels
The Shops and Gaiey Village
Southwest Scenic Design
Whish Body Products
Island Def Jam Music
Hopscotch Kids and Scotch Naturals
Amy Mac Jewlery
Just Junk Jewels
InCLEsive Creations, LLC
Sadie Jane Boutique
Go Green Lunch Box
F1 Race Factory
Times Publications/Scottsdale Airpark News Jumpstreet ASL Inside Bicycle Haus Ecological Design Group , LLC So Low Jewel Ya L'il Darling Sweet Shoppe Morgan Karam Oakley Paradise Bakery
For more information on Room for Joy, please log onto www.roomforjoy.org