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Birmingham non-profit helps teens normalize their lives during long hospital stays

Posted at 7:08 AM, Dec 06, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-06 17:32:44-05

BIRMINGHAM, Mich. (WXYZ) — “My daughter had her bone marrow transplant in 2012 and Wish Upon a Teen goes into teenager's rooms in the hospital and we decorate their room all within the themes of what they choose,” said Nancy Sovran Executive Director of Wish Upon A Teen.

Nancy Sovran is the Executive Director of Wish Upon a Teen, a non-profit helping teens normalize their lives during severe life-limiting medical conditions.

Sovran’s daughter, Hope, was diagnosed with a rare blood condition and received a bone marrow transplant from a sibling. Wish Upon a Teen surprised her with a hospital room makeover.

“So, we come in a little normalcy to their life and decorate the room and it gives them that peace and I’m telling you, I saw it with my own daughter and the joy is such a powerful medicine that it was a game changer for her,” said Sovran.

The mother of nine children is now giving back helping other teens get through the tough times with spa days, game tickets and special moments.

“My interests, I put Shawn Mendes,” said Theresa O’Connor.

Theresa O’Connor was diagnosed with leukemia and was in and out of Royal Oak Beaumont Hospital for seven months when she got her makeover.

“They gave me this comforter, it was a pink comforter, with pink pillow cases and then there were lights all around like fairy lights,” added O’Connor.

“It just really made the hospital room feel as much as it could like home,” said O’Connor.

Making her stay a little more comfortable and when they are discharged, they take these special things home.

“They also had a coloring book, it was a Shawn Mendes coloring book,” said O’Connor.

Theresa met her buddy, Michael Banaszewski, at Beaumont when he was also receiving his cancer treatment.

His surprise, a Red Wings room.

The little things mean so much when you’re away from your friends when you’re a teen.

“It’s an incredible feeling to be able to give back after so much was done for my daughter, and I know what the parent is going through on that other end, and I can’t even begin to tell you the joy that it brings to me to see them," said Sovran. "They’re so happy and I know exactly what they’re feeling at that moment."

Wish Upon a Teen is sharing a little love to make the days brighter!

“It means a lot to me to think that even after like, your whole experience, after you’re done with the treatments and the hospital part, that they’re still there for you and thinking about you,” said O’Connor.

Wish Upon a Teen welcomes volunteers and sponsors to help decorate a room for a teen.

Royal Oak Beaumont Hospital works with Wish Upon a Teen on "Moonbeams for Sweet Dreams" every night at 8 p.m. to let pediatric patients know they are not alone while at the hospital during the month of December.

Pediatric patients will shine flashlights from the hospital windows and look for community members standing outside the hospital to flash them back.