WALES - Caring for a child with a life threatening illness can be daunting. But Waukesha County family in the Village of Wales is getting help from strangers.
Little Owen Fouts was born a healthy happy boy surrounded by love. But when Owen was 16 months old, his family's world was changed forever.
On July 23rd, 2010, 16 month old Owen fell into the family pool. Doctors did not think he would make it. Owen's father David Fouts recalls, "He's in the flight for life..at Wales fire department, they're trying to get his heart back, they're trying to get a heartbeat!"
But 3 1/2 years later, Owen is still here. Despite brain injuries, his heart, lungs and kidneys are strong. The family calls him their new Owen. Owen's mom, Kelly Fouts shares, "As abnormal as our life is day to day, we need to make it as normal as we can for all of our children."
Seven nurses help care for Owen around the clock. Friends and family have been critical. And some new friends have entered the Fouts lives. They are members of a group called "Special Spaces." Director Ann Swain notes, "Special Spaces" is a non-profit organization where we create themed dream bedrooms for children with life-threatening illnesses."
Volunteers will give Owen's bedroom a customized makeover. Swain says, "We're just a group of angels. We are all volunteers. We just feel compelled to give back."
The transformation is free to the family and a rich experience for the volunteers. Kathy Schmidt, Director of Special Spaces admits, "It humbles us. You look at your own problems and they don't seem so big!"
The Fouts did have one request for this makeover. "We decided that were going to do a sports theme. David pronounces, "I'm a Minnesota Vikings fan!"
Kelly exclaims, "Clearly I'm a Packers fan! We're trying to come up with a color scheme! "
And despite their challenges the Fouts feel grateful, for family, friends, the community and "Special Spaces", an organization changing children's lives one room at a time.