Midtown Raleigh News

Giving joy to kids with life-threatening illnesses

Mission: Special Spaces of the Triangle designs and creates dream bedrooms for children with life-threatening illnesses.

These special spaces allow kids to be surrounded by hope and joy in a healing environment while they recover at home and receive care for their medical needs.

Founded in May, the Raleigh-based chapter is staffed completely by volunteers and currently has three children on a waiting list, said director Katie Connors Martin.

“The only qualification they need to have is a life-threatening illness,” she said. “Many of them cannot go to school because of the risk of infection or germs. Because they can’t be around other children, they spend a great amount of time in their room.”

A team from Special Spaces interviews the child to learn about favorite colors, themes, wishes and favorite things.

Local businesses, corporations and family or church groups pay for each child’s room. These groups, if willing, also provide a team of volunteers to help with the decorating and completion the room.

Here’s a look at how to help.

Donations needed: anything that would go into a child’s bedroom: new mattresses and box springs, new or next-to-new beds, desks and chairs; paint, fabric, pillows; gift cards to buy bedding, artwork and blinds; ceiling fans and lighting fixtures; televisions; gaming consoles and video games; DVD players and laptops. They also need individual and corporate sponsors for each child’s bedroom.

Volunteers needed: Guest designers to design children’s bedrooms based on their specific likes and medical needs; electricians, painters, carpenters, carpet installers, plumbers and volunteers of all ages and skill levels to help in the days leading up to the makeover and the day of the makeover.

Volunteer time: One wall painted, one donation secured is all appreciated. Though it takes 6 to 8 weeks to prepare for a bedroom makeover, the majority of the work is done in one day, in a 10-hour time span.

$10 would buy: A hypoallergenic pillowcase covering for a child undergoing chemotherapy.

$20 would buy: A reading lamp for a child’s bedside table.

$50 would buy: A comforter/bedspread in the child’s favorite theme or color or two cans of paint to help brighten his or her world.

Contact: Katie Connors Martin, 919-805-4883; www.specialspaces.org