Kimberly and Steve Resnick had never heard of leukodystrophy—until their daughter Ashley was diagnosed with it in 1999 at the age of 18 months. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke website, leukodystrophy is a rare genetic disorder resulting in progressive degeneration of the white matter of the brain.
After undergoing a routine surgery in 2004, Ashley passed away two days later.
But her family chose to keep Ashley’s memory alive in a very special way. “We celebrate her birthday (Oct. 29) every year,” says Kimberly. “We collect and donate money to different charities.”
In the fall of 2013, the Resnick family was looking for another charity. They came across Special Spaces, an organization that creates dream bedrooms for children with life-threatening medical illnesses. Kimberly was intrigued, because interior design has always been one of her passions.
She reached out to the national director, who said the Resnicks could sponsor a room makeover, but that unfortunately the closest chapter was located in upstate New York.
That same year, Kimberly became the director of the Special Spaces Delaware chapter. “In February 2014, we did our first makeover,” she says.
Kimberly and her team of volunteers transform children’s bedrooms in only one day, but they do not skimp on design or materials. “The family gives us their wish list, then I come up with the design,” says Kimberly. Kids open their bedroom doors to their very own bat cave or princess castle.
Although each makeover typically costs between $2,500 and $3,000, Kimberly insists the value of each room is closer to $10,000. Special Spaces Delaware holds fundraisers throughout the year to pay for the room makeovers, but local organizations, like Creative Floors in Newark, will often donate goods and services like hardwood flooring.
Special Spaces Delaware has completed 11 makeovers in the tri-state area with seven children on its waiting list. Kimberly is happy to report she now has a co-director, Christy Gonzalez, who jumped on board after her son A.J.’s makeover.
Kimberly says the kids’ reactions to the makeovers are “priceless.” “It gives them such a joy to have their own special space that they can come home to after a long stint in the hospital. Although we’ve lost a few kids along the way, I know the difference this is making in their lives. I just try to focus on that.”
To learn more, visit www.facebook.com/specialspaces.delaware.newark.philly/.