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Saturday, Mar 28, 2015

Kiwanis plan bedroom makeover for teen with cancer

Hernando Today correspondent


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Faith Brown, 13, is a typical young teen with creative passions and ambitions. So when she was chosen by the Kiwanis Club of Spring Hill to be the recipient of the second Project Pleasant Dreams bedroom makeover, Faith had some ideas of her own.

Her parents, Dave and Kathy Brown, had hoped to keep the project a secret from their daughter. The makeover was planned to begin and end during a week in December while the family was in New York on a Dream Wish Foundation trip.

But the secret got out on social media when a family friend posted information about a fundraiser sponsored by Kiwanis of Spring Hill, scheduled for Friday, to help raise money for the room.

"They tagged Faith in it and she found out," said Kathy.

Faith is battling a rare form of bone cancer, Osteosarcoma, which she was diagnosed with in March after a fall. Medical treatment including x-rays hinted at a problem.

"The leg wasn't healing," Kathy said. An MRI confirmed a mass on her knee and a biopsy confirmed cancer.

Project Pleasant Dreams is in its second year of providing a makeover for a local child battling a debilitating illness. Last year, the organization held a fundraiser to help pay for a bedroom makeover for a 10-year-old who suffered from Sideroblastic Anemia, a cancerous blood disease.

The project was an amazing experience said Roseann Jones of Kiwanis. She and co-chairs Adam Haynes and Jennifer Rickert organized the event, which entailed locating a child recipient, organizing donors and fundraising to fund the project.

They held a benefit dinner at RBeach in Hernando Beach and raised more than double their goal of $1000.

This year, the bar is set a bit higher since funding a bedroom for a teen is a bit more expensive. They hope to double last year's total.

The purpose of the project is to provide a quiet haven for Faith to recover from treatments as she battles her illness. Local businesses, such as Carpet World of Brooksville and Create More Space, were huge participants last year, donating the floor and crafting the cabinets. Both are onboard this year along with Home Depot, to make the teen's dream a reality.

On Friday, the Kiwanis of Spring Hill will host a dinner at the Elks Lodge and the proceeds will help support Project Pleasant Dreams for Faith.

Donated items will be auctioned off including a Rays baseball, signed by David Price, door prizes and a 50/50 drawing. There will also be a cash bar.

The Kiwanis of Spring Hill has a budget for the project, Jones said. And last year, the completion of the bedroom was done through the generous donations of businesses, private donors and attendees at the dinner.

Any additional money was donated to the family to help offset the burdening costs of living with and fighting a childhood illness.

Faith, whose input has been a big part of the project, is very excited to see the final results.

"I'm really excited about the bed," she said.

Faith has undergone chemotherapy for the past 27 weeks of a 28 week cycle, living at a second home at All Children's Hospital in St. Petersburg.

While her parents will be at the dinner, Faith will hopefully be receiving from her final chemo treatment this weekend, which will prevent her from attending.

"If her blood count is low, she won't be able to get the chemo," Kathy said. "Then she will be at the dinner."

Everyone hopes she will be absent.

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