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posted: 1/24/2014 5:30 AM

Volunteers create dream bedroom for St. Charles teen

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  • Video: The Big Reveal

  • The Special Spaces Chicagoland team and volunteers pull together the new bedroom for Catharine Steiner of St. Charles before her arrival Thursday. From left to right, Lori McSpadden, seated, Andrea Schwemin, standing, Genevieve Cipriano and her mother Beth, center, Ken Markiewicz and Kelly Knox. Genevieve, 18, is a cancer survivor and was the recipient of a room makeover in November; she wanted to pay it forward in helping another child.

       The Special Spaces Chicagoland team and volunteers pull together the new bedroom for Catharine Steiner of St. Charles before her arrival Thursday. From left to right, Lori McSpadden, seated, Andrea Schwemin, standing, Genevieve Cipriano and her mother Beth, center, Ken Markiewicz and Kelly Knox. Genevieve, 18, is a cancer survivor and was the recipient of a room makeover in November; she wanted to pay it forward in helping another child.
    Laura Stoecker | Staff Photographer

  • Catharine Steiner, 16, of St. Charles smiles as she absorbs her made-over bedroom on Thursday. Special Spaces Chicagoland, a nonprofit organization, creates dream bedrooms for children with life-threatening medical conditions. Catharine has was born with recessive dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa, a rare genetic connective tissue disorder. There are many genetic and symptomatic variations of the disease, but all share the symptom of extremely fragile skin can easily blister or tear from minor friction or trauma.

       Catharine Steiner, 16, of St. Charles smiles as she absorbs her made-over bedroom on Thursday. Special Spaces Chicagoland, a nonprofit organization, creates dream bedrooms for children with life-threatening medical conditions. Catharine has was born with recessive dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa, a rare genetic connective tissue disorder. There are many genetic and symptomatic variations of the disease, but all share the symptom of extremely fragile skin can easily blister or tear from minor friction or trauma.
    Laura Stoecker | Staff Photographer

  • Members of the Special Spaces Chicagoland team always leave behind a memento like this, with all their signatures, for the new bedroom.

       Members of the Special Spaces Chicagoland team always leave behind a memento like this, with all their signatures, for the new bedroom.
    Laura Stoecker | Staff Photographer

  • Catharine Steiner, 16, of St. Charles, center, sits with the Special Spaces Chicagoland team for photos after they made over her bedroom in one day. From left to right, Ken Markiewicz, Andrea Schwemin, who designed the room, Catharine, Kelly Knox, Judy Markiewicz and daughter Jamie Markiewicz. Lori McSpadden, not pictured, was also on the team.

       Catharine Steiner, 16, of St. Charles, center, sits with the Special Spaces Chicagoland team for photos after they made over her bedroom in one day. From left to right, Ken Markiewicz, Andrea Schwemin, who designed the room, Catharine, Kelly Knox, Judy Markiewicz and daughter Jamie Markiewicz. Lori McSpadden, not pictured, was also on the team.
    Laura Stoecker | Staff Photographer

  • Catharine Steiner, 16, of St. Charles opens her eyes and gazes at a blue sky ceiling with puffy white clouds as she sees her made-over bedroom for the first time on Thursday. Her mother, Susan, peers inside the room, the first view for her as well. Special Spaces Chicagoland, a nonprofit organization, creates dream bedrooms for children with life-threatening medical conditions. Catharine has was born with recessive dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa, a rare genetic connective tissue disorder. There are many genetic and symptomatic variations of the disease, but all share the symptom of extremely fragile skin can easily blister or tear from minor friction or trauma.

       Catharine Steiner, 16, of St. Charles opens her eyes and gazes at a blue sky ceiling with puffy white clouds as she sees her made-over bedroom for the first time on Thursday. Her mother, Susan, peers inside the room, the first view for her as well. Special Spaces Chicagoland, a nonprofit organization, creates dream bedrooms for children with life-threatening medical conditions. Catharine has was born with recessive dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa, a rare genetic connective tissue disorder. There are many genetic and symptomatic variations of the disease, but all share the symptom of extremely fragile skin can easily blister or tear from minor friction or trauma.
    Laura Stoecker | Staff Photographer

  • Brian Hill/bhill@dailyherald.comSpecial Spaces Chicagoland, a non-profit organization that creates dream bedrooms for children with life-threatening medical conditions works on Catharine Steiner's bedroom in St. Charles Thursday. Here the crew gets started on the room.

      Brian Hill/bhill@dailyherald.comSpecial Spaces Chicagoland, a non-profit organization that creates dream bedrooms for children with life-threatening medical conditions works on Catharine Steiner's bedroom in St. Charles Thursday. Here the crew gets started on the room.

  • Brian Hill/bhill@dailyherald.comSpecial Spaces Chicagoland, a non-profit organization that creates dream bedrooms for children with life-threatening medical conditions works on Catharine Steiner's bedroom in St. Charles Thursday. Here Catharine's mom Susan checks up on the progress.

      Brian Hill/bhill@dailyherald.comSpecial Spaces Chicagoland, a non-profit organization that creates dream bedrooms for children with life-threatening medical conditions works on Catharine Steiner's bedroom in St. Charles Thursday. Here Catharine's mom Susan checks up on the progress.

  • Ken Markiewicz of Crayons Gone Wild! starts working on the mural scene in Catharine Steiner's bedroom. Special Spaces Chicagoland, a nonprofit organization that creates dream bedrooms for children with life-threatening medical conditions, transformed the St. Charles' teen's bedroom into a peaceful garden escape.

       Ken Markiewicz of Crayons Gone Wild! starts working on the mural scene in Catharine Steiner's bedroom. Special Spaces Chicagoland, a nonprofit organization that creates dream bedrooms for children with life-threatening medical conditions, transformed the St. Charles' teen's bedroom into a peaceful garden escape.
    Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

 
 

In just a few hours, Catharine Steiner's bedroom became a relaxing garden retreat.

Volunteers from Special Spaces Chicagoland, a nonprofit organization that creates dream bedrooms for children with life-threatening medical conditions, transformed the St. Charles' teen's room Thursday.

Catharine, 16, was born with recessive dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa, a rare connective tissue disorder. There are many genetic and symptomatic variations of the disorder, but they all share the prominent symptom of extremely fragile skin that blisters and tears from minor friction or trauma.

A team of 10 started at 9 a.m. and completed the makeover before 6 p.m., with time to spare before Catharine was wheeled into the room on a chair by her father, Bill, who was covering her eyes.

As Catharine looked around the room, her gaze quickly landed on the blue sky ceiling filled with puffy white clouds. A heart-shaped cloud floated above her bed, which she noticed right away. "I love it," she said multiple times as she absorbed the beauty of a flower-wrapped trellis mural, which was one of many floral murals, and garden-accented decorations. Catharine's mother, Susan, wiped away tears as she looked alternately between her daughter and the room. Susan and Bill saw the room for the first time along with Catharine, as parents are not allowed to peek beforehand. However, Catharine's sister, Amanda, 23, helped out with the project all day and also documented the event.

Genevieve Cipriano, 18, of Glen Ellyn and her mother, Beth, also volunteered their time. Genevieve is a cancer survivor -- and a November 2013 recipient of a bedroom makeover.

Special Spaces Chicagoland team member Andrea Schwemin of Bartlett designed the room for Catharine, keeping in mind her garden-themed request and including the colors of pink, blue, green and purple. Catharine said she chose the theme because she finds it serene and calming. She also requested a 42-inch smart TV to help her connect to the outside world.

Ken and Judy Markiewicz and their daughter, Jamie, of "Crayons Gone Wild! Murals" of Naperville, created all the murals.

"I'm just so blessed that I had all this done. It's just so great that people can take time out of their lives and do all this great stuff. I just love it." Catharine said. "It's so beautiful in here."

Naperville resident Kelly Knox founded the Special Spaces Chicagoland chapter in 2012. Since its inception, 12 ill children have gotten room makeovers. Knox has a full slate schedule for 2014 and a waiting list. For details, visit specialspaces.org.

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