Dawson is an inspiring seventeen-year-old with a complicated diagnosis. Over the years he’s been diagnosed with Diabetes, Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy, Left Ventricle Noncompaction, Pulmonary Hypertension, and Stage 4 Kidney Disease.
Despite having already been through so much, his situation was about to get worse.
At the end of August, a fever and cough compelled his parents to take him to the emergency room. He was admitted with pneumonia and subsequently diagnosed with Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome. Despite the best efforts of the hospital staff, he went into sever septic shock followed by kidney failure.
Dawson spent weeks in the Intensive Care Unit, then transferred to rehab to begin the challenging process to learn how to walk and talk again. He started dialysis while hospitalized and continues it every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday to this day.
A Family for Support
While Dawson was in rehab, his parents, Jill and Dave, made the decision to move in with his grandparents to help with their care as well, creating a house full of love and family, but limited on space.
Dawson was finally scheduled to discharge from long-term rehab but would now have to share a room with his teenage sister, McKenna. As expected, both teens were upset with the loss of their privacy and individuality of their rooms, so Dawson’s medical team called on the Children’s Cancer Association’s (CCA) Link Program for help.
Renovations with Joyful Seed
Our Link Program Manager reached out to the community with the goal of giving Dawson and McKenna an incredible room makeover that represented both their personalities and hopefully making the situation a little easier on each of them.
Luckily for us, we found the perfect team! Andrea Garrow and the Joyful Seed took fundraising for design and décor into their own hands with a determination to bring the best materials possible to Dawson. Andrea came up with a design that suited them both perfectly. The family received a bed and mattresses donated by IKEA, paint donated by Nova Painting, supplies donated by Home Depot, and a family outing donated by Buffalo Wild Wings and Regal Cinemas while the work was being done. Our Link Program also purchased additional furniture to complete the room.
Next, we called upon Pittman & Brooks P.C. with an urgent request for volunteer work, and without hesitation, their team jumped into action. Volunteers spent four hours priming, painting, cleaning, and assembling furniture to make everything perfect for Dawson and McKenna while the family was out enjoying dinner and a movie.
The Joyful Seed team spent the day before Thanksgiving putting the finishing touches on the room. While beds were made, frames were hung, and curtains were ironed, Dawson and his mom were finishing up his final dialysis and physical therapy sessions at the hospital. Our team was able to wrap up just hours before Dawson headed home.
After months in the hospital, Dawson came home just in time to celebrate Thanksgiving with his family, and to a completely renovated space to share with his sister.
Dawson isn’t a man of many words, but his sister, McKenna let us know through a tearful smile just how much she appreciated the clean, stylish, and functional new space that would make sharing a room so much easier.
“Everything your team did surpassed any and all expectations I had. I still can’t believe how generous you all were. I cried when I saw everything you had done. All I can say is ‘Thank You.’ You’ve really helped make this a Thanksgiving to celebrate and remember. Much love to all of you.” – Jill, Dawson’s Mom.
Do you have resources that you’d like to offer to the families we serve? Please reach out to our Link Program Manager Kelly DuVall to learn more about how you can help.