Like young children on Christmas Eve the excitement of opening presents on Christmas day is just too much. They just cannot wait for the break of dawn to run and start opening their presents. Aimee Milota got to experience Christmas in August. The adorable 8 year old girl was the recipient of the Sweet-Dreams Foundation work and dedication to design a dream bedroom for Aimee. Aimee has been fighting Xeroderma Pigmentosum (XP) since birth. XP makes a person extremely sensitive to direct exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet radiation. This prevents Aimee from playing outdoors during the day with other children unless she has adequate protective clothing. This is almost impossible since most kids are very active and losing protective garments and equipment during play would cause serious skin damage. It’s so sad to hear about Aimee’s condition t but her spunk and determination allows for a sweet beautiful smile to adorn her face. Most of the time that I’ve seen her she’s had a smile on her face to go with her joyful personality.
The Sweet Dreams Foundation finished Aimee’s dream room on Friday, August 27. The expression on her face and happiness she exhibited when she walked into her newly decorated bedroom was priceless. Jennifer Richards, interior designer, CEO and founder of the Sweet Dreams Foundation has been working on Aimee’s room seemingly without rest since June. She has worked with various organizations throughout Sacramento and was literally working until the last minute on finishing up Aimee’s room. It was ready a few seconds before Fox 40’s Bethany Crouch arrived to cover the unveiling.
Besides Jennifer Richards who worked feverishly to finish Aimee’s room Daniel, from Caviar Crew Construction, was putting the finishing touches on the furniture and cleaning up. He also indicated that there had been days where he’d been putting on long hours to finish the cave to give it a rock appearance. Other enterprises that donated time, money, services and materials were; Caviar Crew Construction, Starr’s Foam Design and Starr’s Building Supplies, Melnikov Cabinetry, Sherwin Williams of Folsom, Scandinavian Designs of Fair Oaks, Folsom Floors to go, Midwest Tropical, Niki Gamboa – Muralist, Tashelle Harvey – Artist, Brand Aid Media, Tiana Vega, Couture Connection and others. Aimee made a thank you card and it was displayed on the top of the cabinetry for all who helped.
The room was designed to be a playground, a place for school work, and included an art table, two sitting surfaces, storage for toys and a WII station. In the back was a cleverly designed climbing rock/cave. Aimee, her brother Christian, sister and friends could use the rock as a climbing structure and doubles as a cave. The cave had a small built in TV and Aimee with her little sister were able to lay on a sleeping bag and watch some or just watch a lit up sky inside the cave. Along the back of the room was a structure that adorned the room like a waterfall. Aimee’s ocean themed room gave a very relaxing feel. Everything in the room was designed by Jennifer with Aimee’s help. They had discussed and designed most of the room back in June. At the Designing Dreams Fashion Show on August 7th, 2010, a video of their encounter was shown to those who attended the show.
Aimee’s mom, Michele Minolta was also at hand trying to keep Aimee from prematurely entering her room. Aimee kept asking her mom questions and trying to find a way into the room before it was ready. “She’s driving me crazy” Michele said, “Aimee is now trying to use bribing to enter the room”. Aimee had no choice but to wait. Christian, Aimee’s brother, was also at hand helping where he could. Precautions need to be taking at all facets for Aimee’s well being. Her dream room had special tinting on all windows and sliding doors to prevent the harmful ultra violet radiation from entering the room. Once all precautions had been taken care of it was time for Aimee to come into her room. Bethany Crouch from Fox 40 and her crew of 1 were ready to tape Aimee’s entrance.
Aimee came into the room covering her eyes with her hands. The anticipation was too much, “open your eyes!” Jennifer said. As she moved her hands from her eyes she was speechless for a few seconds and her mouth was open in awe. Her eyes and her mouth smiled her joy was quite evident. “What do you think?” Bethany asked. “It’s really cool!” Aimee answered. Attached is a short video documenting her reaction.
Aimee explored every nook and cranny in her room and seemed to love every aspect. She admired her waterfall, climbed the rock and was shown her cave. Her little sister came in and followed Aimee into the cave. “They’ll be in there for hours” her mom noted. Aimee loved everything in her room and we enjoyed watching her move from one end of the room to the other. These were unforgettable precious moments. Michele answered some questions posed by Bethany Crouch. Michelle went on to say that Aimee was born with XP and had been to at least 42 doctors. There are less than 250 people in the United States diagnosed with this condition and there are about 1000 cases world-wide. Aimee up to now has been cancer free for 5 years. Michele is also the Executive Director of the Xeroderma Pigmentosum Family Support Group (XPFSG), a registered non-profit organization that helps those touched by this rare genetic condition through education, research and kindness. It occurred to me that there are few people in this world who make a difference in our society through their works and deeds. I was fortunate enough to be in a room with several of them. Michele’s and Jennifer’s hard work and dedication to children and their families are very admirable and go beyond the norm. As far as Aimee goes, it’s been noticed that, she touches everyone she comes in contact with.
I was very touched and happy to have been a part of this event and enjoyed the opportunity to watch somebody as someone’s dream became reality. Jennifer’s work continues to grow and as she was being interviewed by Bethany she indicated that she’s working on putting together a bigger team to keep up with her work. She’s happy to note that they’ve grown to a point where they need a bigger staff. Along with others Jennifer puts together not only her team but a team of other businesses that help children’s dreams become a reality. Aimee’s dream room was a success and this will help her enjoy showing off her room and having playmates come over and enjoy being a kid.
To learn more about Xeroderma Pigmentosum, Michele’s Family Support Group and the Sweet-Dreams Foundation log on to their websites. Each site has ways that you can become involved in making a difference in a child’s life. A special event coming up will be Aimee’s September Dream scheduled for Saturday September 25 at the Carriage House Gardens in Citrus Heights. See more details under the Events section on the Sweet-Dreams Foundation website.