Born at just six months, Addy Gile spent more than half of her first year of life at what is now Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital.
Now 6, the brunette whose brown eyes peek through pinkish-purplish-rimmed glasses adores art, music and reading. Her vantage point most often is a wheelchair, her nutrition arrives via feeding tube overnight, and Addy is no stranger to Lurie Children’s.
But the youngster’s life is full. Her moms make sure of it.
And recently, a whole new group of friends and a brand new chapter of Special Spaces came together to provide a much-appreciated bedroom makeover for Addy, as well as a critically helpful year’s supply of diapers.
“As part of my role at Coldwell Banker, I help organize our foundation,” said Amy Eiduke, a Lake Zurich resident and central region communications director for Coldwell Banker. “We support housing-related charities.”
Several months ago, Special Spaces’ Chicagoland chapter approached the Coldwell Banker Foundation about its mission of creating dream bedrooms for children with life-threatening medical conditions.
“I went out and saw a room makeover … and I just thought it was a great partnership,” Eiduke said about her meeting with Chicagoland Special Spaces Director Kelly Knox. “I just fell in love with it.”
Eiduke was so taken with the organization, in fact, that she now is associate director of the new North Affiliate chapter of Special Spaces, which will serve areas including Buffalo Grove, Lake Zurich, Barrington and other Lake and western Cook County communities.
The Gile family, including Addy and her moms, Dee Dee and Greta Gile of Palatine, was the first to receive a makeover from the local chapter.
Volunteers arrived at the Giles’ apartment at 9 a.m. May 8 and stayed until 6 p.m. painting, building special book shelves, installing a hand-crafted valance, creating hand-sewn pillows and window treatments, carving out a reading nook and an art space, and putting in medical supply storage organizers.
“It was just a phenomenal experience,” Dee Dee Gile said. “I had at one point put on Facebook that it was like angels had just fallen from the sky that day … Addy couldn’t be more happy with her new room.”
A student at Whitely Elementary in Hoffman Estates, Addy doesn’t speak, but makes her happiness and wishes known via other means.
“She smiles and says yes by sticking out her tongue and no by shaking her head to one side,” Dee Dee Gile said. “That day she was sticking her tongue out a lot.”
Dee Dee Gile said that she and Greta can’t thank Special Spaces, Coldwell Banker and the volunteers enough for all they’ve done.
“They’re so wonderful,” she said. “The people involved in both organizations are just amazing, really kind-hearted, generous people.”
Gile added that Eiduke’s young son Ethan even took it upon himself to collect art supplies for Addy, who cherishes an elephant-drawn painting she won at a circus, and who loves to paint. Also, when employees at Coldwell Banker heard about the family’s need for diapers for Addy, they conducted a drive.
“We had told them how our insurance does not cover diapers,” the mom said. “They came with a huge van full of diapers … probably enough for the next year.”
The excitement over her new space, unfortunately, was a bit short-lived for Addy, who returned to Lurie Children’s the next day suffering from an acute respiratory illness. She remained there on May 13, but her moms and her pup, a chocolate Chihuahua named Mason, eagerly await her return.
Also awaiting is Addy’s new purple bedroom, where a reading nook featuring a bouncy chair stands ready.Tags: Special Spaces