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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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