Field all smiles at bedroom makeover ‘big reveal’
By James Grob, firstname.lastname@example.org
The smile on Shelby Field’s face was worth a million words.
“I didn’t really expect this much. I thought it would be more simple and not as much stuff in it,” Field said. “I really love how it turned out.”
Field, age 15, got to see her new bedroom at 5 p.m. on Friday at the “big reveal.”
Field, who has both Type 1 diabetes and ulcerative colitis, was selected to have a bedroom makeover by the My Happy Place organization, based in Mason City. The theme of the room includes natural, calming colors, in an attempt to make her room a place for peaceful escape.
Alanna Davison performed the makeover. Davison is a volunteer decorator for My Happy Place and has been volunteering her services for the group for nearly a decade.
“Shelby was more than deserving of a room, and we were happy to be a part of it,” Davison said.
Davison said the new bedroom had been a workshop and storage room attached to the garage that was utilized by Shelby’s grandfather.
Davison met with Shelby and her mother, Laurie, and learned that Shelby wanted an area where she could read and relax and an area where she could do her school work and study. Since Shelby’s favorite color is blue, Davison incorporated various blue shades with a Bohemian-style decor.
Shelby loves art, so Davison kept a work bench for her art and included a little art cart. The room also includes a bed for Shelby’s dog, Duke, and a repurposed chalkboard table to play games on.
Shelby said the first thing she noticed was the game table.
“I’m very excited,” she said. “I feel really blessed that they are doing this for me. I know there are other people out there who could use it.”
Shelby was diagnosed with diabetes in 2012 and UC in 2018. Both conditions require special diets, and UC requires people to work with a variety of medicines that can cause side effects that can impact the diabetes, among other things. Shelby wears an insulin pump, a constant glucose monitor, counts her carbs at meals, takes oral medication to manage her UC, and tries to maintain being active. She visits her doctors in Iowa City every three months to manage both the diabetes and UC.
On top of her chronic medical conditions, Shelby has endured two life-altering events in her young life. At the age of 1 year, she lost her dad to brain cancer. Her grandparents were a key role in helping Shelby and her two older sisters, Allyson and Kylie, heal and continue to live their lives. Shelby was close to her grandma and would take any chance she could to spend time with her.
Shelby’s grandma, Nancy Johnson, was diagnosed with ALS in 2019 and passed away this past December.
My Happy Place offers bedroom makeovers for children diagnosed with a life-threatening medical conditions. The community-based, non-profit organization focuses on the emotional well-being and health of children, under the age of 18, who are affected by illness, disease or emotional distress, to include grief-stricken children suffering from the loss of a parent or sibling.
A sister organization, called My Happy Haven, provides bedroom makeovers for women with cancer.
The organization is comprised of volunteers dedicated to making a real difference in the life of a sick child and his or her family and them “with a fun, safe and therapeutic environment where they can thrive and heal.”
The organization works closely with the child and their family to design, redecorate and personalize a bedroom within the family’s home, filling the space with items that are meaningful to the child and in a theme and colors of their choosing.
“We always encourage people, if they know someone who would benefit from this, to nominate them,” Davison said.
The Foster & Evelyn Barkema Charitable Trust is credited as the sponsor for Shelby’s bedroom makeover, while there were about a dozen other businesses and individuals who contributed to the makeover.
As the room was being done, Shelby and her mother were treated to lunch, hair styling, manicures and pedicures around town, and several other fun things, all donated by local businesses.
Shelby said she would be more than happy to claim the room as her own and was “extremely grateful and thankful” for the people who made it happen.