Little Connor Armstrong went from being a kid excited about first grade to suddenly being stuck in bed since October.
“Connor was starting first grade and doing very nice,” Melanie Armstrong, of Stamford, Conn., said of her 6-year-old little boy. “But then we noticed he was limping and we didn’t know what to make of it. He had a rash on his leg and we went to the doctor and he ended up getting diagnosed with leukemia.”
The life-changing diagnosis meant a lot of changes for Connor, the biggest of which was no longer attending school but instead, taking it easy and resting up at home.
All that time confined to the four walls of your bedroom can be mind-numbing for even the most enduring patient, let alone a small child who just wants to play.
Connor would often pass the time playing his favorite video games and made it no secret which characters he liked best: Mario, Sonic the Hedgehog and Sonic’s sidekick, Talis.
“You’re stuck at home and he needed something uplifting,” Armstrong explained.
And what better way to do that than by completely making over his bedroom in less than 48 hours, using his gaming hobby as inspiration for the perfect little boy’s dream décor?
“I think this was one really great. I was very pleased with how it came out,” said Karen Morgenbesser, the brainchild behind Circle of Care’s “Art from the Heart,” an organization that designs and creates bedroom makeovers for children battling cancer.
Over the course of Super Bowl weekend, 16 high school volunteers teamed up with Morgenbesser to completely transform Connor’s room from being your typical humble abode into the little boy’s heavenly haven.
He wasn’t allowed to peek into the room until it was totally done, but once he was finally given the go-ahead, Connor slowly walked into his brand new boudoir. He was speechless staring at his favorite characters hand-painted on the wall, his brand new big boy-sized bed and even an entire wall of new cubbyhole storage spaces to help organize his toys.
“He just loved it and was very quietly astonished,” Armstrong said of her son’s shocked reaction. “He said it was the best thing ever.”
The biggest breakthrough, however, was that Connor slept the whole night in his new bedroom without disturbing his parents, something that has become a bit of a routine since he started undergoing treatment.
“We knew he loved it because he slept in his room for the first time last night,” said Armstrong. “He’s been sneaking in with us and it was kind of a habit we didn’t think we’d be able to correct.”
Connor began a new chemotherapy treatment Feb. 3 that uses different drugs than he’s had in the past. And although they’re “a little more intense with higher doses,” his mom explained, the entire family is thrilled he now has something bright to look forward to once he’s home.