DENVER — Megan Nichols, Meg for short, never misses an opportunity to put smile on others’ faces.
With her trusty ukulele in hand, the 11 year old is often giving impromptu concerts, singing her heart out to some of her favorite artist.
“From the day she was born, she has been a fighter and has inspired so many people through that fight,” said Meg’s mother Leslie.
Meg was born with osteogenesis imperfecta, also known as brittle bone disease. A disorder with no cure, brittle bone disease can range in severity. Unfortunately for Meg, her case is serious. She had nine fractures as a newborn and doctors told her parents that Meg would only live for a short time and likely never leave the hospital.
Meg, however, had other plans. After 12 days in the NICU, Meg’s parents insisted that they bring their baby girl home.
Eleven years later, Meg continues to defy the odds.
“She has succeeded and exceeded every expectation that's ever been put in her way," Leslie said. "She looks at something and she's like, 'try me!'”
Despite the hardships, Meg is a vibrant kid whose love for music led to her recent acceptance to the Denver School of the Arts as a vocalist.
Meg personifies determination. The only thing standing in her way? An accessible room that fits her unique needs. To improve their daughter's quality of life, Meg's family is going through a very challenging renovation to provide Meg — who often used a motorized wheelchair — with an accessible bathroom.
That’s where the nonprofit Savvy Giving is stepping in. Savvy Giving by Design is a national network of professional interior designers that redesigns rooms for children facing medical crises.
The renovations are free for the families, which is no small thing. Depending on the disability, caring for a child with a disability can cost as much as ten times more than caring for a child who does not have a disability. For lower-income families, the stress is even greater: a study published by Canadian researchers found that families that make a lower income are 19 times more likely to experience an "unfair burden of cost."
Savvy Giving’s Denver-based team has stepped in to help Meg’s family create customized bedroom space. In addition to her bedroom, they are consulting on her new accessible bathroom, as well as creating something special for her 13-year-old brother, Pete.
Renovations are underway at the Nichols home, which will soon give Meg greater independence. Rocky Mountain PBS will continue to follow the renovation progress and will bring you more on Meg and her family’s story.
To find out more about how you can help Savvy Giving Design complete Meg’s room, visit this link.
William Peterson is a senior photojournalist at Rocky Mountain PBS. You can reach him at email@example.com.