William brings out the best in people. He always has. From the groundbreaking, life-saving surgery William needed as a baby that brought the best out of his doctors, to this weekend as a 16 year old boy when he brought the best out of a team of former strangers, who now feel like long time friends, William seems to inspire people to rise to the occasion. All because of a boy so full of contagious passion that everyone around him catches it.
In one weekend, from about 8:30 am on Friday until 5:00 pm on Sunday, April’s Angels and Team #1 from Leadership Raleigh, worked nearly round the clock to create a fantasy bedroom for William. April’s Angels creates fantasy bedrooms for chronically ill children in Wake and surrounding counties. That is their mission. But what always seems to happen is that they actually provide the opportunity for communities to show their best side.
It starts out with a volunteer team that may or may not know a thing about decorating or organizing, but they know they want to help a child’s dreams come true. They are paired up with a local family with a chronically ill child. They get to know each other, talk about family history, hobbies, the child’s dreams and passions and medical needs.
Then, the theory of six degrees of separation proves itself again. April’s Angels and the Leadership Raleigh team from the Raleigh Chamber of Commerce fanned out to plan the room transformation. What started as a volunteer team of six became a community of people that came together to bring fantasy to life. It started with Allison Mann of Design Works Studio in Cary volunteering to review design plans; next thing you know a local artist, Dawn Privette, donates her talent and time to create a one of a kind personalized mural on an armoire; a friend of one of the team members, Richard Kipp from Hometown Painting, spends the day Friday bringing out his professional equipment and expertise to paint ceilings and walls; neighbor Wayne, with a wealth of knowledge from his Habitat for Humanity volunteer work, comes in with tips and hard labor to keep things rolling; Dale Earnhardt Jr. folks donate bedding (Mr. Hartsfield and big brother Brandon both race); Chris Hudson videotapes, and occasionally picks up a tool or two, because he thinks this story must be told.
In the end, a room that once centered on William’s medical conditions was transformed into this teenager’s dream (and perhaps his mother’s dream as well). Medical supplies now have an organized space in the artful, personalized armoire that reflects the family legacy of racing, family faith, and William’s passion for music; the closet has become a mini music studio with mirrors, stereo, and even a disco-light ball. The moment of truth came as William finally got to see his new room. He and his parents walked down the hall to the doorway and peered in. The team waited anxiously to see how he would react. As William smiled, grabbed his guitar and started strumming in front of his new mirrored ‘studio’ everyone clapped along, once again catching the passion of a boy that always brings out the best in people.