Suite Dreams Project gets big lift from local mattress donation

Nicole, 16, of Waterford, was directly helped by Suite Dreams

Nicole, 16, of Waterford, was directly helped by The Suite Dreams Project.
Photographer: Vaughn Gurganian

(L-R: Lauren Tonne, Kris Appleby, Rory Karpathian and Kay Ponicall; photographer: Vaughn Gurganian)

 
By MIKE SCOTT
Local Business News

Kay Ponicall and Kris Appleby can’t help but come to tears when they think of hundreds of kids, their non-profit The Suite Dreams Project have helped since being established in 2001.
But it is that emotion that has helped The Suite Dreams Project to thrive. The organization provides children with various medical challenges a custom-designed bedroom created to meet their specific needs, tastes and preferences – all at no charge to their family.

Think of “Extreme Home Makeover,” only focused on a child with special needs throughout not just southeastern Michigan, but the entire state of Michigan. That child will describe their dream bedroom and Ponicall and Appleby work their magic – and the magic of their vast array of volunteers – to make it happen.

“You see the courage that these children have. And you see what their parents are going through and what we’re just trying to do is create a healing environment,” said Appleby, a Bloomfield Hills resident.

“For these kids it is a space that gives them a voice,” said Ponicall, who is also a Bloomfield Hills resident.

“Many of them are spending most of their time in their bedrooms and in their own beds so it’s not just their refuge. It is really where they spend most of their time. We want to do something to help add a layer of peace for them and their families.”

The children who have been helped by The Suite Dreams Project, such as 16-year-old Waterford resident Nicole whose challenge is spina bifida, are forced to deal with a range of serious illnesses such as cancer and neurological diseases that have a direct impact on quality of life. The rooms can be designed to help address the need for certain medicines that is required. One of the specific needs that the organization has is mattresses for children’s beds that are comfortable and high-quality.

Nicole, 16, of Waterford, was directly helped by Suite Dreams

Nicole, 16, of Waterford, was directly helped by The Suite Dreams Project.
Photographer: Vaughn Gurganian

That’s where Rory Karpathain and his team at Rochester’s Beds by Design come in. As owner of the Beds by Design location that just opened this July in Rochester, Karpathian was looking to work with a local charity that supported children’s needs given his recent entry into the community. Since Beds by Design handcrafts mattresses made of natural fibers in northern Michigan, they are ideal for children with special needs. After Karpathian heard about Nicole’s needs, he offered to make and donate a perfect mattress for her.

“The thought of Nicole getting a better night’s sleep every night felt so good that I wanted to do more,” Karpathian said.

He added that now through the end of the month, any purchase made from Beds by Design’s master bed collection at its Rochester location will result in a twin mattress being donated for a child helped by The Suite Dreams Project.

Families and individuals are referred to The Suite Dreams Project by area hospitals such as Children’s Hospital of Michigan in Detroit and C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital in Ann Arbor. Social workers and physical therapists are also great resources for Ponicall and Appleby to help identify families and children that have specific needs.

Besides Ponicall and Appleby, the real heroes are the volunteers: those that volunteer supplies and their know-how to projects; and those that donate their time. There are a large group of committee members who have been a part of the organization since its inception. In addition there are artists and designers; skilled trades people in such areas as plumbing, electrical work, and more; and those that can help with transporting goods and items to the sites where new magical bedrooms are created within a period of weeks, not months or years. Their assistance has been invaluable.

Furthermore it includes generous business owners like Karpathian willing to pitch in.

“If you are handy with some tools and around a house we could really use you,” Appleby said. “I mean we really rely on these people and their skills because we would be lost without them.”
Since The Suite Dreams Project has just one employee, project coordinator Lauren Tonne of Shelby Township, (Ponicall and Appleby don’t take salaries) it has virtually no overhead, and practically all donations go directly to families in need. And in the end it is that need that keeps the two mothers of a combined six kids going with this organization.

“We do it because it makes a difference. It’s more than just the physical ability to make a room look pretty. The redesigned bedrooms make the kids feel special. And the parents and the family need that,” Ponicall said.

Often, The Suite Dreams Project will also provide some design services for siblings of sick children, who often may feel left out because so much of their parents’ attention is directed toward the child with special needs, Ponicall said.

“We started this because we wanted to set an example for our own kids and it has just grown and grown,” she said. “Now our kids are in high school or older and they are still involved. It has become this family effort, not just of our family but those who have played such a major role over the years.”

For more information on The Suite Dreams Project, visit suitedreamsproject.org. To learn more about the twin mattress donation promotion being held by Beds by Design, call 248-923-2153 or visit bedsbydesignmi.com.

 

 

Photographer/Videographer: Vaughn Gurganian.

 

Short Story

Suite Dreams Project gets big lift from local mattress donation

An agency that provides children with various medical challenges a custom-designed bedroom created to meet their specific needs is getting a boost from a local mattress maker.

The non-profit, Rochester-based Suite Dreams has helped hundreds of children in Southeastern Michigan at no cost.

“For these kids it is a space that gives them a voice,” said Suite Dreams’ Kay Ponicall.

“Many of them are spending most of their time in their bedrooms and in their own beds so it’s not just their refuge. It is really where they spend most of their time. We want to do something to help add a layer of peace for them and their families,” Ponicall said.

Beds by Design, which just opened a Rochester location in July, is working with the agency by donating mattresses. Now through the end of the month BBD is donating a twin mattress to Suite Dreams for every mattress sale it makes. BBD handcrafts mattresses that are ideal for children with special needs, according to BBD owner Rory Karpathian.

After Karpathian heard about Nicole’s needs, he offered to make and donate a perfect mattress for her.

“The thought of Nicole getting a better night’s sleep every night felt so good that I wanted to do more,” Karpathian said.

For more information on The Suite Dreams Project, visit suitedreamsproject.org. To learn more about the twin mattress donation promotion being held by Beds by Design, call 248-923-2153 or visit bedsbydesignmi.com.

 

Brief

Suite Dreams Project gets big lift from local mattress donation

An agency that provides children with various medical challenges a custom-designed bedroom created to meet their specific needs is getting a boost from a local mattress maker. The non-profit, Rochester-based Suite Dreams has helped hundreds of children in Southeastern Michigan at no cost.

Beds by Design, which just opened a Rochester location in July, is working with the agency by donating mattresses. Now through the end of the month BBD is donating a twin mattress to Suite Dreams for every mattress sale it makes. BBD handcrafts mattresses that are ideal for children with special needs, according to BBD owner Rory Karpathian.

For more information on The Suite Dreams Project, visit suitedreamsproject.org. To learn more about the twin mattress donation promotion being held by Beds by Design, call 248-923-2153 or visit bedsbydesignmi.com.

 

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