Revealing sunshine

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DRC
John D. Harden/DRC
Five-year-old Reese Perry and her family react to seeing her newly decorated room for the first time on Sunday. As she explored her room she repeatedly said that she loved it.
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Sisters react with joy as they see their newly decorated bedrooms

When Brielle Perry, 2, and her sister, Reese, 5, walked into their newly decorated rooms Sunday, their facial expressions left nothing unsaid.

The nonprofit organization Sunshine Spaces (Room for Hope) had spent time since Friday decorating and remodeling the rooms for the sisters. The organization, which was founded one month ago, seeks to make over rooms for sick and special-needs children and their families.

Brielle Perry was born in September 2011 with Down syndrome and two holes in her heart. In April, she was diagnosed with leukemia and recently completed six rounds of chemotherapy.

When the 2-year-old, carried by her mother, entered her newly decorated room, her face lit with excitement. And a doll made to resemble her quickly gained her attention.

She gave the doll a tight embrace as she let out a huge laugh.

Volunteers and organizers decorated her room with art work, a new bed, a large decorative “enchanted tree” and toys.

“I’m speechless,” said Stephanie Perry, Brielle’s and Reese’s mother. “I love it and never imagined anything like this.”

Moments before when Reese walked into her new room, she paused and a smile grew on her face.

“I love it,” Reese said when she walked into her room, shortly after taking a big gasp of air.

Her room was decorated with a large mural, an aquarium donated by Reef Remedies, toys and a new bed.

“Oh, I wanted this for Christmas,” she said as she picked up an item that volunteers laid out for her.

The Perry family is the beneficiary of the first Sunshine Spaces room makeover, and founder Erica Jones said she hopes to do three to four makeovers annually in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

Last month, Jones and her husband, Joshua, founded Sunshine Spaces, which will make over rooms for children with long-term and terminal illnesses and renovate rooms for children with special needs.

She runs the organization with her husband, a U.S. Marine stationed in Fort Worth who serves as the group’s project manager, and Renee Jacobs, the organization’s visionary officer.

Jones said she wants to use the organization’s work to teach their children it’s more important to give back than to “take, take, take.”

Some of the sponsors who helped make the remodel possible included Houston-based Theme Designs, The Home Depot, The Store For Décor, Ybarra Painting Services, Elizabeth Anne Photography, Ludwig Design House and Reef Remedies.

“I know we’re the first family to benefit from this, but the work they’ve done on our home — I would’ve thought that we were the 100th family,” said the girls’ father, Ryan Perry. “We’re so grateful for everything. When we left 48 hours ago so that the work could be done, we didn’t know what to expect.”

There was also one more surprise for the family. Organizers had decorated an upstairs living area for the family, converting it into a family room with a TV, an arts and crafts area and play area for the sisters.

Stephanie Perry said she and her family will always be grateful to Sunshine Spaces and approximately 30 volunteers who helped.

“I don’t know what else to say. People who we’ve never met, family and friends … it means so much to us,” she said.

Jacobs said the execution of the remodel and the reveal was flawless and that the team responsible for putting everything together couldn’t ask for a better outcome.

“Everything came together perfectly,” she said. “Just the look on those girls’ faces … that’s what this whole thing is about — to spread sunshine.”

For more information about Sunshine Spaces, visit sunshinespaces.org or call 979-324-9567.

JOHN D. HARDEN can be reached at 940-566-6882 and via Twitter at @JDHarden.


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