by Larry Austin
A 17-year-old girl from Grand Island is the recipient of a bedroom makeover thanks to a team of local volunteers.
Ilana Clark, a junior at Grand Island High School, had her Bruce Lane bedroom redone as she was out of the house undergoing surgery Feb. 11. When she returned home later in the day, she was greeted by a new room.
About 10 volunteers worked, including members of the Grand Island Lions Club. They were organized by Special Spaces Buffalo, a nonprofit organization that makes over the bedrooms of children with life-threatening illnesses. Special Spaces Buffalo is run by volunteers and funded entirely by donations. The group raises money to create unique bedrooms dreamt by the child they help.
Clark is dealing with epilepsy and Hodgkin's lymphoma.
Beverly Olsen of Special Spaces Buffalo said the team of volunteers created a bedroom that reflects Ilana's love of photography and vintage cameras, and the colors gray and purple. A new fan and desk were added that the family bought.
"We were going to do a full makeover for Ilana, and she chose to pay it forward to another child who she felt was in more need than she was," Olsen said.
But Special Spaces Buffalo decided to spruce up Ilana's room a little bit anyway.
"We thought that she deserved a little something, too," Olsen explained.
As with all of the bedroom makeovers conducted by Special Spaces Buffalo, costs will be covered as a result of fundraising efforts. The Grand Island Lions Club and Gui's Ace Hardware on Whitehaven Road teamed up with Special Spaces to help provide the makeover. Olsen's older brother, Lion Tom Witkowski, even renovated Ilana's closet, which he called a little bit of both a reach-in and walk-in closet.