Tallie Crossman was speechless when she opened the door Tuesday to get a first look at her new princess bedroom makeover.
The Chandler 5-year-old was mesmerized with the pint-sized pink vanity table with strands of jewelry in the drawers. She picked up the princess picture frame and hugged it.
Tallie looked wide-eyed at the gold crown jutting out from the wall, in the middle of a castle and Disney character mural, with pink tulle that flowed down to her pink, princess bed. She cuddled the gold, crown pillow while laying down on her new luxurious pink and tulle comforter with bows on the side.
“This is where I’m sleeping?” Tallie asked her mom excitedly. “I got a new night light?”
The glittery pink sign above her closet, “A dream is a wish your heart makes,” summed up Tallie’s experience.
Tallie always wanted a princess room, and the Make-a-Wish Foundation of Arizona granted her wish with a $7,000 donation from Betty Crocker.
The Betty Crocker Stirring Up Wishes program and the Make-A-Wish Foundation help grant the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to bring hope, strength, and joy to their lives, according to a statement.
It was a nice surprise for a little girl who has already dealt with so much in her short life.
When Tallie was 3 years old, she started vomiting, losing her balance and wasn’t able to hold anything in her hands.
Doctors discovered a baseball-sized cancerous tumor near her brain stem, and she underwent four surgeries and months of chemotherapy to fight the cancer, said Tallie’s mom, Geneva Bowen.
Tallie is doing really well now, and only has to deal with a small limp on her left side, which happened after suffering a seizure following a surgery, Bowen said.
“She’s just a typical kindergartner,” Bowen said, adding Tallie goes to D.W. Higgins Institute charter school in Tempe. “Her (five) brothers didn’t treat her any different. She is ecstatic since her chemo stopped because she doesn’t want to get poked.”
Volunteers worked on her room since last Thursday, and Tallie and her family got to see her new room for the first time Tuesday. They also held a surprise party for her with all the volunteers.
“Oh, I love it,” Bowen said. “It’s amazing. A lot more than what we could have done.”
Disney store volunteers painted the room and assembled the furniture in the 11-by-11 foot bedroom.
Volunteer wish granter Adrienne Shumway of Scottsdale designed the room in eight weeks, and she and wish granter Jeffrey Stelter of Mesa worked 12-hour days to get the room ready. The room would have cost about $10,000 without the donations, Shumway said.
“The room is spectacular,” said Shumway, whose mom, Greta Shumway, is also a Make-a-Wish volunteer. “It’s the ultimate princess room. Everyone wants to be 5 again when they see the room.”
Contractors donated time and services, and local companies donated the wood laminate floors, custom bed, window treatments, blinds and paint.
“If anyone deserves it, that little girl does,” said Tallie’s grandmother, Shauna Wickes of Maricopa.
Tallie especially liked the dimmer switch, which she played with while admiring her new chandelier against the purple walls. She asked if all the fancy costumes, shoes, dolls and snow globes in the closet and shelves were hers, too.
“Thank you,” Tallie kept saying as she walked around with a big smile and hugged everyone. “I love all of it.”