Community partners join forces for Make-A-Wish project
A 13-year-old boy from Lehigh Acres is living inside his own airport, runway and all, after Make-A-Wish Southern Florida coordinated an aviation-themed bedroom makeover.
Caleb, who has undergone treatments for acute myeloblastic leukemia at Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida and Nicklaus Children’s Hospital in Miami, returned home Oct. 28 to find a mural of a passenger jet taking off, a propeller on the wall, a ceiling painted to resemble the sky, a collection of scale model airplanes and other aviation-themed design elements.
“This is just insane; this was unexpected and it is out of this world,” Caleb said. “I really love this so much and I might just not ever leave my room again.”
Make-A-Wish Southern Florida, which creates life-changing wishes for children with critical illnesses, coordinated with five community partners to grant Caleb’s wish:
- Delaney Shovlin, with support from Kirsten Shovlin and Rob Shovlin: planned and executed a bingo fundraiser.
- Heritage Palms Golf & Country Club: hosted a bingo event that raised more than $13,000 in financial support.
- RyAnne Cornow: muralist who designed and painted Caleb’s bedroom.
- Brooks Burgers: donated a prop propeller for a 3D aviation-themed accent wall.
- Sunshine Ace Hardware and Ace Handyman Services of Southwest Florida: provided hardware and professional labor to complete the transformation.
“It took a lot of back-and-forth coordination with a lot of different community partners,” said Miguel Medina, special events coordinator for Make-A-Wish Southern Florida. “We are blessed in the sense that the partners involved in this wish really all came together in an efficient way to make it happen for Caleb. It’s really the most gratifying feeling in the world. To be able to come in and put a smile on a wish kid’s face who has really gone through such a difficult time is something very special.”
As Caleb recovers at home, he’ll also have a new TV mounted on his wall and nearly two dozen model airplanes representing fleets of various airlines.
“Our company supports a variety of youth and pediatric health care causes, and when we heard about Caleb’s story, we wanted to help,” said Michael Wynn, president of Sunshine Ace Hardware and Ace Handyman Services of Southwest Florida. “Our multi-skilled craftsmen typically tackle home improvement projects, but they truly enjoyed an opportunity to help reenergize this young man after his treatments by creating an aviation sanctuary in his bedroom.”