BY CHRISTIE DEL AMO JOHNSON
Photos by Mickey Shanks of Shanks Photography
At the Hall house in Macon, 5-year-old Cofer’s room has become the place to be. “All three children tend to congregate in that room. They bring toys upstairs from the playroom to play on the bed,” says his mother, Sarah Hall. But more importantly, it’s become a haven for Cofer who is battling cancer. The theme: Super Mario Brothers. The space looks like it came straight out of a video game; horizontal white and orange stripes. Mario and Luigi painted on the wall with coordinating linens and furniture.
While the idea was completely Cofer’s, it took Macon interior designer, Ann Mosley, and her team of volunteers to bring it to life. Mosley, who in her years as an interior designer has won numerous awards in the Home Builder’s “Parade of Homes” in the past. In addition to Cofer’s room, she has made 18 other rooms spring from children’s imaginations: Tinkerbell, Princesses and Spiderman to name a few. All the rooms belong to children between the ages of four and eighteen, battling a life threatening illness.
It Starts With an Idea
Mosley says she got the idea from a similar initiative going on in Tennessee, taking the rooms of these children and transforming them into a place they’ve only dreamed of. “We were just kind of winging it to begin with,” says Mosley.
It’s grown faster than Mosley could have imagined. Now dubbed “Rooms From the Heart,” she relies on donations to get each room done. She says people have given beds, cabinets, linens, meals, but most of all, they’ve given their time. She says, “We have groups of people lined up to do the next twelve rooms. Once they do one, they want to do it again.”
Done in a Day
Before it all begins, Mosley meets individually with the child so they can help her plan the perfect room. After that, her team does miracles in less than 24-hours. She says the family typically leaves around 8:30 a.m. and is allowed to return by 5:30 p.m. that same day. In 9-hours, they have been known to paint walls, add artwork, build cabinets and beds and hang drapery.
In one case, they remodeled more than just the room, including digging ditches and fixing a front porch, all so that they could make sure the child has the best environment possible for healing.
Six-year-old Kylie Seitz, in Juliette, wakes up as a princess everyday. Mosley helped transform her room into a castle. “My parents live right next door and they said you won’t believe the number of people who were in and out of your house all day,” says her mother, Gini.
At that point, Kylie had been in intense treatment for three months for Ewing’s-Sarcoma; bone cancer in her right femur. “That was the first time since she had started treatment that we saw her really light up and be happy and joyful,” Gini says. “It really is something different and something out of the box. They’re doing something very special. They are professionals at what they do. It’s a long time benefit that Kylie gets to enjoy. It’s just a magical little place (Kylie and her bedroom are featured in the photos on the left).”
“Rooms from the Heart” has been to Byron, Bolingbroke, Perry and beyond. She says they are hoping to soon start a coastal division of the organization. Until then, she says they are always looking for donations of old furniture, meals, money or time. “It’s probably one of the most rewarding experiences you can have. You know that child is going through horrendous things,” says Mosley. “It gives them hopefully a place to get away and feel comfortable and recoup.”
If you’d like information on getting involved with “Rooms from the Heart,” you can contact Mosley at 478/747-5299.#