Jennifer suffers from a life-threatening illness called Sickle Cell Disease. This is a disease of the red blood cells that causes extreme episodes of debilitating pain and may lead to eventual organ failure or a possible stroke. Before she even reached the age of 2, Jennifer had to endure several surgeries, one of which was to remove her spleen. Since she was born, Jennifer has suffered from severe immobilizing pain crises that strike sporadically and, unfortunately, cannot be controlled or predicted.
“Why would I wish for something I would have for only one day?” This is what 14-year-old Jennifer said when asked why she chose to have her room revamped for her wish. Of course, Jennifer is not your average teen. She’s a very creative girl with a bright mind, a cheery outlook and aspirations to become a writer. When she dreams, she dreams in Technicolor and that’s exactly what she had in mind for her room. When she thought of what her new room would look like, Jennifer envisioned a room done in zebra stripes with bold splashes of red.
Two amazing designers from the University of Maryland named Ruth and Meryam brainstormed with Jennifer and set to work revamping her room. The designers wanted to incorporate Jennifer’s amazing personality into every corner of the room and the finished product conveyed this beautifully with zebra striped pillows on a brand new bed, new zebra print chairs, black and red accents everywhere and all sorts of little surprises for Jennifer. They built the teen a window seat, painted quotes on the walls from a poem written by her favorite author Maya Angelou, and matched everything to the room right down to the light switches and outlets.
As an extra special surprise, Ruth contacted Maya Angelou and asked the author to send Jennifer a signed collection of her poems, which she did gladly. She also bought Jennifer a television set and a few stuffed toys of Elmo, Jennifer’s favorite television character, and placed them around the room.