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Critically ill toddler gets new circus-themed room

Critically Ill Toddler Gets An Incredible Circus Surprise

DESTREHAN, La. (WGNO) - A critically ill three-year old boy in Destrehan is now living his fantasy, thanks to volunteers, one woman's dream, and the circus.

WGNO reports, 3-year-old Tommy Saunee tried to soak in the magic -- with his 5-year-old brother by his side, the two are in awe.

Little Tommy was born with conditions that make it hard for him to breathe. He's currently undergoing therapy and surgeries in hopes to widen his airway, but in the meantime, Tommy needs a tracheal tube to breathe and speak.

"It's a big deal. It's definitely changed our lives, but it's becoming kind of routine now; wake up, do trache care, evening time, bedtime, trache care," says Jules Saunee, Tommy's father.

However, Tuesday was anything but routine for the Saunee family. In the morning, Tommy and his family were whisked away for a day of fun while volunteers transformed his bedroom.

Tommy is a big fan of all things circus, so it's only fitting that Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey team with Special Spaces to create a one-of-a-kind makeover-- one that for Tommy includes painted furniture, a mural, special pillows, loads of toys, and a custom bed.

"Oh my goodness is this not the best bed ever?" exclaims clown ambassador Gigi Allison.

"There's nothing better than to hope that a child for one second forgets they're sick. That's why I do it," says Executive Director of Special Spaces Jennifer Swain.

It's a special visit that has changed the life of little Tommy and the Saunee family.

"Tommy, with his medical issues, he's missed out on a lot that normal kids take for granted, and normal parents take for granted. So the fact that he's thought of in such a big way is truly a blessing," says Tommy's mother Melanie Saunee.

Jennifer Swain with Special Spaces has been transforming bedrooms for critically ill kids for 10 years now. It's her first time in the New Orleans area. Swain is looking for others in the New Orleans area to start a local chapter. If you are interested click here.

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey starts up Wednesday and lasts through Sunday. For Tickets click here.

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Joy June 29 2014 at 3:02 PM

This story makes me smile. I hope Tommy's medical condition has a happy conclusion and he leads a full and sweet life.

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oujoou June 29 2014 at 8:21 AM

Wow. So he likes the circus. AND he lives in a circus-themed room now. :) Why not have him learn circus stuff? Maybe not catch a cannonball . . . until he's ready. The proper motivations . .. plus successful surgery . . this kid will live a long time. Very cute handsome boys. :)

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Kate June 29 2014 at 5:03 PM

That is really sweet, and was very welcome reading after the tragedy of the little girl in Philadelphia, who was the same age. I wish all the best for Tommy and his family.

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patriot1too June 29 2014 at 5:18 PM

May God be with and bless him and his family and heal his body. God bless him.

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vincent.barnes1 June 29 2014 at 11:53 AM

This is better news than hearing about a want to be football player jonny who..

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shirley.butterfield June 29 2014 at 1:17 PM

The room was cute. Please AOL - fix the video sound. Listening to 2 conversations at once defeats the purpose of the video.

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2 replies
meepstein shirley.butterfield June 29 2014 at 2:40 PM

Walt would really be happy with this show of love.

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Paula Larson shirley.butterfield June 29 2014 at 8:46 PM

Gee, sorry. I had no problem with it at all.

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carla June 30 2014 at 1:05 AM

Prayers to the little boy- this is a great story! My son was also a trach patient (he didn't tolerate the passy muir) until 2 years of age when he had his re-construction, which was successful...This video brought tears... I will never forget how difficult those years were. I'm sure this family makes sacrifices most will never understand. I'm sure this was so very special to this family.

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