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By roomtodream

On 28, Mar 2013 | No Comments | In | By roomtodream

Ethan’s Project

Designed and Managed by Room to Dream Board Member Gail O’Rourke of Cape & Island Kitchens

The challenges that face a family when they receive news that their child has a life threatening diagnosis can be insurmountable.  Ethan’s family stared into the face of his diagnosis and refused to be defeated.  Understanding the challenges that other families like theirs face, Debbie and Manny (Ethan’s parents), started a foundation for families with children who have cancer to support them while they are caring for their children.  Two years after his diagnosis they continue their battle, but with the comfort that they are helping others along the way.

When Ethan’s application was received by Room to Dream Foundation President Stefan Nathanson and the Application Committee, they didn’t hesitate to award Ethan and his sister Maddie a Dream Makeover.

“When I read their story, I was awed by their commitment to others during a time that can be so difficult.  We were pleased to start the process and were thrilled to welcome them into the Room to Dream Family”, said Nathanson.

Room to Dream Project Manager and Board Member Gail O’Rourke took on the challenge for Ethan and Maddie’s rooms.

 “I remember the first day that I met them, Ethan had just come from treatment and he was resting at home.  While I talked to the family I was able to envision, at that very moment, Ethan recovering in his new room,” says O’Rourke with a smile on her face.  “I couldn’t wait to get started.”

Plans were made and designs were drawn.  O’Rourke was ready to take this makeover to the next level, bringing in the best of the best.  Kitchen Designer, Jessica Posmoga, DIY expert Sue Homan and Creative Graphic Artist Kate McDermott joined the design team and with O’Rourke they designed rooms that pushed the envelope and raised the bar.

“When Gail told me we had to complete this entire makeover in less than 48 hours I was skeptical.  We knew we had to get it done, so that’s what we did,” says McDermott.

A record number of volunteers came out for this project.  The group consisted of talented painters, cabinetmakers, children ranging from 6 to 18, past and present board members, veteran volunteers and new volunteers alongside HGTV designer Taniya Nyack to make up the most dynamic Dream Team ever.

Sponsors for this project consisted of Sherwin Williams Paint, Cape & Island Kitchens, Bill Best Painting, Brian Harrington Painters, Big Picture Framing and an anonymous local builder and cabinet manufacturer. As the Dream Team literally raced the clock to the Reveal, everyone banded together to get the job done.

The result was a fun and sunny Garden Room for Maddie and her American Girl Doll collection.  A hand made picket fence lined the Waterscape walls. A personalized closet door made by a special friend.  The lofted bed with flowery curtains provided the perfect place for a little girl hide away.  Custom cabinetry completed the room and reminded everyone that spring is around the corner.

Ethan, an avid sports fan, wanted a hockey room. “I love the Bruins, they’re awesome!” exclaimed Ethan.  The recipient of autographed hockey memorabilia, Room to Dream sent the many items over to Big Picture Framing for framing and presentation.  A padded wall, made to resemble the side of a hockey rink, was installed as well as highlights from the Bruins signature colors.  When it was completed, there was NO mistaking who Ethan’s favorite team is.  A room for all ages, custom cabinetry, a special painted closet door and other treatments completed the effect.

“WOW, it came out better than I could’ve even imagined!”, exclaimed Ethan.  The look of surprise and delight on his face said it all.  Ethan gave O’Rourke a big hug and whispered a warm ‘thank you so much’ into her ear.  O’Rourke replied “You’re welcome, Ethan- Dream BIG!”

Many thanks to the donors who made this makeover such a success:

Bill Best Painting

Brian Harrington Painting

And a special thanks to the many friends and family members who volunteered their time during project weekend! You are all invaluable.

To learn about Ethan’s foundation, please visit


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