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The Denver chapter of a national nonprofit gives children battling diseases the room of their dreams

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DENVER — Savvy Giving by Designs’ Denver-based team has a lot to be thankful for.

The organization — a local branch of Savvy Giving’s national network of professional interior designers who redesign rooms for children facing medical crises — is growing with new board members and designers. Perhaps more exciting is that renovations are underway at the home of the newest design recipient, Meg Nichols.

Rocky Mountain PBS first brought you the story of Meg back in August. The vibrant 11-year-old was born with osteogenesis imperfecta, also known as brittle bone disease, a disorder with no cure.

You wouldn’t be able to tell because of her constant smile, but Meg’s daily life includes around-the-clock care and accessibility challenges due to her stature (people with brittle bone disease sometimes have shorter limbs or do not grow at typical rates).

To address Meg’s unique needs, Savvy Giving is designing a room of Meg’s dreams that is both functional and fun. 

Colorado VoicesSavvy Giving by Design

The Denver chapter of Savvy Giving says Meg’s room is the latest of several rooms they’ve renovated in the past few years.

“It’s been an amazing feeling to see something that is so near and dear to my heart take off,” says former Denver chapter president and current fundraising coordinator, Kathy Helfrich.

Helfrich has been with the Denver chapter since its founding and has seen first-hand the difference a clean and healthy environment can make for a child’s recovery. “You just hope and try to give them more than what they want,” she added.

The “more” is most important when it comes to these specialized renovations. Depending on the child’s disability or need, accessibility is key.

“We have to be very conscious of what she’s able to reach…she scoots on her bottom,” Denver chapter president Andi Lawlor said of Meg. That attention to detail is what makes Savvy Giving unique, in that they can provide a space that gives Meg independence.

Many of the rooms the team designed did not require as many specifications as Meg’s, but they all require a lot of heart and care.

“To have a space that is specifically designed around their specific requirements allows them to have a space where their body can do the healing that it needs to do,” says Denver chapter secretary Jeni Finnigan. “It’s special knowing that this space will exist way beyond our time with the family.”

Since 2015, the National branch of Savvy Giving by Design has equipped children with the necessary functional spaces to live, heal and thrive. For the local Denver chapter, their work is just beginning, and Lawlor says that’s what keeps her and the team coming back for more projects.

“It’s one of the most beautiful ways to use my skillset,” Lawlor said. “It makes the world a better place, and it helps these families in ways that I think is the most beautiful thing.”

For more info on Savvy Giving visit their website here.

William Peterson is a senior photojournalist at Rocky Mountain PBS and can be reached at

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