HBA raised the money to make a little girl's wish come true.
By SEAN BARRON
WARREN -- For most children coming home from school, a bus trip or ride from their parents are the main modes of transportation.
For 9-year-old Macenna Simmons, it was a white limousine that dropped her off at her Penn Avenue Northwest home -- and to a "bedroom makeover" and wish party in her honor.
"I love it. It was a big surprise," Macenna said after seeing her remade room, which fit her specifications.
Macenna, a fourth-grader at Horace Mann Elementary School and daughter of Jason and Shannon Greene, was the guest of honor at the gathering Friday, hosted by the Home Builders/Remodelers Association of Mahoning Valley. HBA raised about $12,000 during its Parade of Homes event last summer, much of which was used to make Macenna's wish for a redone bedroom come true.
Guests at the party included Macenna's teacher Tina Noble and Warren Mayor Michael O'Brien.
HBA adopted the wish after being contacted by the Make-A-Wish Foundation, explained the foundation's development officer, Julie Scarsella. Make-A-Wish grants wishes of children who suffer from a life-threatening medical condition that's not terminal, Scarsella noted.
Macenna was diagnosed in February 2005 with a form of muscle cancer. She is undergoing chemotherapy and her prognosis is favorable, her mother said.
Cathy Angelo, a volunteer for Make-A-Wish's Trumbull County branch, said that Macenna requested a pink and purple room with a canopy over her bed. She vacated the room while it was being redone, Angelo said.
"We pretty much gutted the room except for the paneling and started from scratch," Angelo explained.
The work took about two weeks and was centered on a concept and design ideas that Macenna wanted, said John Gouvas, owner of Nouveau Interiors Inc. of Howland, which coordinated the project. Work included painting the paneling and replacing the carpet, he said.
"She wanted flowers, stuffed animals and a theme, and we went crazy from there," Gouvas said with a laugh.
HBA volunteers added trim around the bedroom's doors and windows and built a shelf near the ceiling on two sides of the pink and light purple room that hold her stuffed animals.
Shelves also were added to the closet, and the ceiling is adorned with a hand-painted mauve flower that resembles a ceiling fan.
Also complementing Macenna's room is new lighting, candles, blinds, furniture, various accessories and a TV/DVD player, all of which several businesses donated, Gouvas added.
Gouvas praised subcontractors and others who worked on the project for giving their time as well as the companies that donated items for the bedroom. The only charge was for new carpeting, he said.
"It's beautiful, very beautiful," Mrs. Greene said of the finished product.