Autumn Brantley is no ordinary 10-year-old. Since she was two, she has lived with a rare autoimmune disease called sideroblastic anemia, which requires her to obtain blood transfusions every two weeks. While she awaits her second bone marrow transplant in two years, the Kiwanis Club of Spring Hill, Florida, sought to make the time she spends at home as magical as possible.
After seeing an episode of the television show “Secret Millionaire,” a show in which millionaires visit impoverished communities and provide assistance, past club President Roseann Jones conceived of the idea to conduct bedroom makeovers for children with debilitating diseases. A few years later, the club connected with Autumn, whose disease forces her to spend nearly all of her time at her family’s small home, where her immune system is less likely to be compromised.
Jones’ astonishment at the community’s receptiveness to Project Pleasant Dreams’ first annual recipient is overwhelmingly evident. “The community is really coming together,” she says. “Autumn is a wonderful girl with such a wonderful personality.”
Designed with Autumn’s input, the boldly colorful new bedroom will truly be the result of a community’s generosity. At a benefit dinner held in her honor, the club raised US$3,500, more than tripling its goal. Businesses and individuals have donated their time and supplies, offering flooring, murals and compassion to a family that has endured a difficult journey.--Courtney Meyer