Bringing smiles to kids' faces with 'Room for Smiles' - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Bringing smiles to kids' faces with 'Room for Smiles'

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(KFVS) - Two local sisters have launched an organization that is all about bringing smiles to kids' faces.

It is called Room for Smiles.

Through the program, children with terminal illnesses get a bedroom makeover just for them.

Heartland News got a tour of a newly redone room of a very special little girl.

Reagann Duenne has Rapid-Onset Obesity with Hypothalamic Dysregulation, Hypoventilation and Autonomic Dysregulation - a.k.a. - “ROHHAD” Syndrome.

"This is Reagann's room her main thing she wanted was peace signs," said Reagann's mom, BJ Duenne.

She picked the colors, designs, and themes.

"When she was telling them all the things she wanted, I was like there's no way they can get them all, but they did," Duenne said. "We have really been all over the country to get treatment for Reagann."

Her mom and dad, Joe and BJ Duenne, say that after spending weeks in hospitals, a room just for Reagann means so much.

"We've lost a lot in the last year, I mean, you have no idea what it costs to have a sick kid, not just financially, emotionally, mentally," Duenne said. "You just can't explain it until you're there."

Reagann is the first child to have a room for smiles bedroom makeover.

Reagann's dad tried to talk her into princess's big time, but she wasn't having it, it was going to be peace signs.

Susan Tucker and Diane Bowles started the organization.

"We've seen the faces of healthy children as they've walked into some of these rooms and we just got to thinking what would it do for a sick child," said Tucker. "They say laughter is the best medicine. You can get a sick child to laugh, that's precious right there."

This crafty sister-duo has books full of designs and hearts full of compassion.

"If you can lift their spirits, that's the only way we know how to help," Bowles said.

"They just want to come home to color and Spiderman!" Tucker said. 

Reagann is just the first of many kids' lives they hope to touch.

"Was it last month? We got our final papers back that we are officially through the IRS a 501c3 organization so we are ready to go forward," said Tucker.

They re-do the rooms completely free. They say, so far, the community and local businesses have stepped up.

"We had a very specially clerk at Hudson's that was extremely helpful, even bought some stuff with her own money to put with the room, of course, mad me cry," Tucker said.

Now, they're trying to raise more funds to keep doing what they do best.

"It's good to see a smile," Bowles said.

So, with thread, paint, and lots of creativity they'll keep giving families a gift like none-other.

"We are very thankful," said BJ Duenne. "You see your baby smile and that's everything."

If you'd like to help support the work of Room for Smiles Facebook, contact Susan or Diane at 573-243-7966 or 618-764-2580 or visit their Facebook Page.

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