Game Changer Special Spaces Boca Raton Completes First Room Makeover

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Boca orthodontist Dr. Jennifer Statler knows what its like to spend hours on end in a bedroom. Her mother was bedridden for two years during a six year battle with cancer.
So when she heard about Special Spaces, she knew it was a way she could help give back to a child who was stuck for hours in their bedroom.
The newly formed Boca chapter of Special Spaces is part of a national nonprofit, which creates dream bedrooms for children with life-threatening medical illnesses. The rooms allow the child to dream and imagine while they receive the medical attention they need.
“It’s an amazing organization,” she said of Special Spaces. “I have a lot of interaction with families and kids and having a safe space definitely hits home for me.”
Director Peggy Peterson said she formed the chapter after she heard about it from her high school friends in Buffalo, New York. She said it was during a high school reunion that she learned about it. After watching videos of the rooms and the reactions from the children, she said she knew she wanted to be involved.
“I was so impressed, I came back and started,” she said of forming the Boca chapter this year.
The Boca chapter just completed its first room for Marissa, a 15-year-old with Rett Syndrome. Rett Syndrome is a neurological disorder that impacts a person’s ability to talk and walk. Marissa is non-verbal but has a communication device, has some physical limitations but mobile, and has some light seizures. She is home-schooled and has therapy several times a week.
Special Spaces with help from Statler, who sponsored the project, created a bedroom with bright colors and Justin Bieber posters as well as a therapy room where she can improve her balance and strength with her therapists.
The room was recently completed and everyone involved said there wasn’t a dry eye in the room when Marissa entered her bedroom and jumped right on the bed.
Her mom, Liz Luzadder said that was her seal of approval on her new room.
“It was amazing,” Luzadder said of the makeover. “I can’t say enough. They said they would take care of everything and they did. They were phenomenal.”
She said Marissa has told her teachers and speech therapist she loves the monogramming in her room and a nail polish holder in her room.
“It was an unbelievable experience,” she said. “They came in like they were complete pros. They had everything together and organized.”
The team of volunteers said it was an experience they won’t forget.
“This whole experience, from the day we met with the family to the planning and execution of the rooms to the day of the reveal, has been an amazing journey,” Peterson said. “To be able to give Marissa a therapy room and bedroom is not only our gift to her and her family but a gift to me and my team of volunteers as well. Seeing the joy on their faces, tears of happiness and their undying gratitude when they saw the rooms for the first time, is what it’s all about.”
The chapter just received approval to start its next room for a 6-year-old boy named Logan, who has C.H.A.R.G.E. Syndrome.
If you would like to be part of a Special Spaces child’s makeover, visit www.facebook.com/specialspacesbocaraton For more information about the Special Spaces organization, visit http://specialspaces.org For information on becoming a room sponsor or corporate sponsor please contact Peggy Peterson at peggy@specialspaces.org