Melissa Kingsley and her son, Jackson, were full of emotion as The Suite Dreams Project revealed Jackson’s new room, which includes an adjustable bed.

Melissa Kingsley and her son, Jackson, were full of emotion as The Suite Dreams Project revealed Jackson’s new room, which includes an adjustable bed.

Photo by Donna Agusti


Suite Dreams Project refreshes family’s home

By: Mary Beth Almond | Rochester Post | Published September 4, 2019

 The Suite Dreams Project staff and MNP Corp.  volunteers  welcome the  Kingsley family  to their newly  transformed condo.

The Suite Dreams Project staff and MNP Corp. volunteers welcome the Kingsley family to their newly transformed condo.

Photo by Donna Agusti

 MNP Corp. owner Teri Chapman and Suite Dreams Project CEO and co-founder Kay Ponicall celebrate the completion of a condo makeover for a local family.

MNP Corp. owner Teri Chapman and Suite Dreams Project CEO and co-founder Kay Ponicall celebrate the completion of a condo makeover for a local family.

Photo by Donna Agusti

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ROCHESTER — After a weekend of chemotherapy at William Beaumont Hospital, 18-year-old Jackson Kingsley and his mom, Melissa, returned home to find that their condo had been completely transformed by The Suite Dreams Project. 

For the past 19 years, The Suite Dreams Project — a program of the General Sports Foundation, a nonprofit organization in Rochester — has been refreshing the bedrooms of local sick children into healing spaces where they can rest and recover.

“When we first started this charity 19 years ago, our goal was to try to affect chronically ill children … that are having to spend many, many hours of the day in their bedrooms,” said Sheri Daugherty, the director of development for The Suite Dreams Project. “We wanted to make the spaces that they are in the most as appealing and comforting as we can.”

To say that the Kingsley family has been through a rough patch over the past few years doesn’t quite do it justice. 

Two years ago, the single mom of two lost her older son, Jory, 21. Six months after Jory’s death, Melissa’s younger son, Jackson, was diagnosed with medulloblastoma, a form of brain cancer.

“They say it is curable, and I’ve already said to God many times, ‘You’re not taking both my boys,’” Melissa said.

The Suite Dreams Project heard about the Kingsleys through a friend of the family and decided to give them one of the nonprofit’s largest projects to date: a complete, three-day condo makeover the weekend of Aug. 2.

“We just felt this family needed a new beginning … so we went in and we refurbished the entire home, other than the bathrooms,” Daugherty explained. 

Many local companies donated funds, goods and services, and even supplied volunteers to help make the project a success, according to Daugherty. 

The majority of the funding came from MNP Corp. of Utica, which also rallied a team of over 100 volunteers to help transform the home. 

The interior design was provided by Emphasis on Design owner Josephine Munaco, who also donated furniture and accessories. Munaco’s vision was to brighten up — and help organize — the home using a modern farmhouse design aesthetic.

“We just wanted to make their life a little more simple,” she said.

Throughout the course of the weekend, the Rochester condo was transformed into a healing space with new paint, countertops, furniture and flooring — including hardwood flooring on the first floor, and carpeting on the second level and in the basement. In Jackson’s bedroom, the design team stood by his two requests and painted his room a soothing green and displayed his older brother’s artwork on the walls. He was also gifted a new Temper-Pedic cooling mattress with an adjustable base and new furniture, and also benefited from added storage and organization. 

Melissa Kingsley’s bedroom received an update with pink walls, new furniture, a glamorous chandelier and new décor. Crews even refreshed the outside of the home with new landscaping and outdoor furniture.

“I just was so overwhelmed. I was like, ‘Are you kidding me? I love it.’ But I just didn’t really want to say that. I had such mixed emotions, and I wished my oldest son would have been here to see it. It’s just been such a blessing,” said Melissa Kingsley.

Other businesses that donated goods or services to the project included Grandview Construction, Builders Custom Flooring in Lake Orion, Hard Rock Stoneworks and GFL, to name a few.

“It was a huge group effort and it really came out unbelievable. They were very, very thrilled,” Daugherty added.

The Suite Dreams Project is hosting an upcoming fundraiser called “Mats on the Mound,” a yoga event at Jimmy John’s Field in Utica, 9-11 a.m. Sept. 14. 

For more information, call (248) 601-0799 or visit the Suite Dreams Project office at 400 Water St., Suite 250, in Rochester.

Call Staff Writer Mary Beth Almond at (586) 498-1060.

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