Nonprofit provides bedroom makeovers for kids with life threatening illnesses
A nonprofit is putting a smile on kids’ faces one bedroom at a time.
Special Spaces Chattanooga is a nonprofit organization that redecorates bedrooms for children facing life threatening illnesses.
“Axton is full of life. He’s happy. He laughs out loud. He’s added a lot to our family and he’s the youngest of our four children,” said Toby and Joanna Solberg of Ringgold.
The parents say Axton’s diagnosis came as a shock.
Their little boy, now 4, began having serious health problems about a year and a half ago.
An MRI revealed a softball size tumor and the diagnosis was Glioblastoma Multiforme, a type of brain cancer.
The family says their strong faith helped them get through it.
“There was a supernatural peace that God gave us through this whole ordeal,” said Toby who works as a youth pastor.
Since Axton’s diagnosis, he’s undergone surgeries, chemotherapy and radiation.
“Even through this time, Axton has been happy and joyful and running around,” said Joanna.
The family learned about the nonprofit Special Spaces Chattanooga while Axton was receiving treatment at Erlanger Medical Center.
Axton was chosen to get a bedroom makeover and his parents say he could hardly wait to see it.
“It was pure joy on his face when he was going through his room and to see each little station that they had specifically done, special for him. There’s music, there’s playdough, there’s the puzzle, the fire hat, the outfit so he had a lot of fun just looking at all of that,” said Joanna.
The bedroom was designed and built just for him with his interests in mind.
It has a firehouse theme and a custom bunk bed that looks like a firetruck and includes bells and lights.
“They really cater to his possible needs because there was such a high risk of him losing his sight. They met with people and figured out what should be included in the room so there is sensory stuff. They didn’t just build him a cool room, they built him a highly functioning room that suited the needs that he could possibly have,” said Toby.
The bed is also low to the ground so Axton can easily get in and out of it.
“We get so many calls from the parents the next day saying their child has not slept in their own room for many months since the diagnosis and they slept all night in their room last night so it is so rewarding to know that we’ve made that child so happy during a very traumatic time in their life,” said Pam Moore with Special Spaces Chattanooga.
Axton’s parents say the nonprofit has made them feel loved, supported and surrounded by people who care.
“Anytime people are loving on you and helping to support you, that helps you feel like part of a community that loves you and it helps you get through it,” said Joanna.
Special Spaces started in Knoxville and now has 25 chapters across the country including Chattanooga.
It relies on individual and organization donations along with corporate sponsors.
Volunteers do all the work and they decorate each room in about a day.