ATLANTA -- One minute Ismaiah "Izzy" Williams was planning her 13th birthday party. The next, she was in the hospital, where she would remain on-and-off for nearly two years with leukemia.
But a big gift awaited Izzy at home a few weeks back.
"When she sees it and she just lights up, that's what I'm looking forward to right there," her father Lamont Williams said before the big reveal.
Izzy was diagnosed with leukemia before she was 13; she went through chemotherapy, then relapsed a year later. At one point, she went into respiratory failure and required surgery that only 1 in 4 people survive.
The Aflac Cancer Canter recommended Izzy's story to Healing Spaces, a nonprofit branching into Atlanta and working with students at Emory University to provide room makeovers for children with cancer. The crew spent a long weekend in April taking Izzy's white room and turning it her favorite color, orange, all while upgrading pretty much everything.
Meanwhile, Izzy's family stayed at the hotel down the block, biding their time until the room was done.
When they came home, Izzy was stunned.
"Ohhhhh! This is so pretty!" she said several times over the next few minutes.
She had long wanted a new bed, especially after sleeping at the hospital so often. When the crowd left, it was time for Ismaiah to get the good night's sleep she had been awaiting for years.
To learn more about Healing Spaces, check out www.healingspaces.org.