National News

Nonprofit aims to make kids' hospital stays brighter by decorating their rooms

Posted October 25, 2017 1:05 p.m. EDT

— A Hillsboro mom is working to make a difference in the lives of kids battling life-threatening illnesses by decorating their hospital rooms to make them feel more like home.

FOX 12 was there as Valerie Morton and her team of volunteers made a special delivery to Doernbecher Children's Hospital in Portland.

It was a surprise for 2-year-old Easton.

Volunteers hauled in wagons full of Troll-themed decorations and wall decals to decorate Easton's room. The group strives to create healing spaces for kids experiencing extended hospital stays across the Portland metro area.

"It was awesome," said Easton's mom Shannon Murry. "It's great for these kids. They're in a boring room and now they can feel relaxed and more at home. It's all of his favorite stuff."

Easton's room was one of many the team visited with customized décor for each child.

"Right now, we're doing five baskets, we've got a Harry Potter theme, a Trolls theme, a Seattle Seahawks theme, a Superman theme and a butterfly theme," said Morton.

It's an idea that came to Morton after her own son spent months in the hospital.

"My youngest son Brady was diagnosed with Stage 4 Neuroblastoma cancer back in 2011," said Morton.

After that life-threatening diagnosis, Morton decided to decorate her son's hospital room with circus-themed lights, banners, a big top tent and a trapeze.

"After decorating his room, the other kids in the hospital were standing in his room saying, 'I wish my room looked like that,' so that's how we came up with the idea. Why can't their rooms look decorated and fun?" she said.

That's how Morton's journey began, to bring joy to other kids in the hospital.

Little by little, she stocked up on decorations over the years, recruited family and friends to help her and then eventually established her own nonprofit she named Rock'n Rooms.

"It's nice to give back," said Morton. "My son is five years out of treatment now and doing well, so I think it also gives these parents hope."

The nonprofit has successfully helped decorate dozens of hospital rooms across the metro area in that time. Morton said each family she's met along the way holds a special place in her heart.

"A lot of times they'll send a message on Facebook, or an email, saying 'thank you, this meant so much to my son, or daughter,'" she said.