From Dean Dowd on December 22, 2009 in General Remodel
When I was a teenager, all I wanted was to be like my big sister. I used to sneak into her bedroom when she was out doing unimaginably cool things with her friends. It was like a private treasure trove of adultness (teenage, even cooler than grown-up adultness). Behind closets and in drawers was jewelry, makeup and clothing unlike anything I had, and the miscellaneous, personal touches let me know with every snooping step, I was still just a kid… and my sister was too cool.
Brittany Stokes is the same age now as my sister was then, 16, a special time when a teenager wants to express her identity even as it’s still forming. The Make-a-Wish Foundation chose to give Brittany her very own, very individual space where she can dream her dreams and just be a young adult.
The teen has a congenital condition called hydrocephalus, which causes cerebrospinal fluid to fill the cavities of her brain. The resulting pressure leaves Brittany with terrible headaches and the constant threat of a stroke or other life-threatening trauma. She has had to go undergo dozens of medical procedures.
The Make-a-Wish Foundation thought it was a wonderful idea to give Brittany a place to get away from that, an 800-square-foot basement-apartment retreat within the safety of her parent’s home. The foundation let Brittany choose the colors, like pale blue, but wouldn’t let her see the creation until it was complete.
The result: a suite my own sister could only dream of! Brittany’s got her own bathroom with a vanity for trying on new makeup looks, replete with a purple-lighted vanity, and a huge walk-in closet for her teenage garb.
Some of the details are still in the works under the guidance of contractor Harvey Deveau, JKD Remodeling Inc., but the apartment was presented to her last week after school. She arrived home to find her street blocked off, the McHenry High marching band trumpeting the accomplishment to the neighborhood, and a host of friends eager to watch her reaction.
In a touching moment, the cheerleading team presented Brittany with a framed uniform and welcomed her as an honorary squad member. The band presented her with a pillow signed by all its members as well. Mementos of high school friendships are the perfect accent for a teenager’s pad.