Designing Dreams creates healing spaces for children with cancer, bringing hope and happiness to their families.

Our vision is for every pediatric cancer patient to have an uplifting space for hope and healing.

Our Founding Story

Ever since Lauren Curwick was a little girl she dreamed of becoming a physician, specializing in the area of pediatric oncology. When she began college at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities, Lauren immediately began searching for a volunteer position where she could work with children battling cancer and other critical illnesses. By sophomore year she had yet to find a position that fulfilled her desire for a hands-on experience making a difference in children’s lives. The only logical solution she could think of was to start her own, unique organization, and she became set on bringing this dream to life. 

Lauren sought to create an organization that could make a direct, positive impact on children battling critical illnesses. Her mother Mardel, an interior designer, proposed the idea of redesigning children’s bedrooms, and Lauren instantly responded, “Designing Dreams!” In November 2012, Lauren recruited four close friends from the University of Minnesota Twin Cities - Teal Johnson, Gracia Johnson, Rebecca Scott, and Erin Monasterio - to form the founding executive board. From that moment on, Designing Dreams was no longer an idea; it was an action plan. Since its foundation in 2012, Designing Dreams has transformed the bedrooms and lives of 12 inspirational and deserving children battling cancer or cancer-like conditions. In the years to come, Designing Dreams hopes to continue to provide many more young patients with a space for happiness and healing in the bedroom of their dreams.

A Shared Passion

         Our principle activity is to redesign bedrooms for children with cancer, and cancer - like conditions, at their home. We completely redecorate the bedroom by painting murals, purchasing new furniture, choosing an overall theme, and more, to meet the desires of the child and his or her family - ultimately surprising them with an exciting new place for the child to spend his or her time! To accomplish this we must plan, fundraise, and execute by connecting with local hospitals, businesses, and our designer, Mardel Curwick, for the various requirements necessary to make our overall goal of designing a child's dream come true.

Pictured Lef to Right, Top to Bottom: AJ, Lauren, Marcus, Gracia, Mardel, Erin, Dasha and Henry. Not pictured: Teal Johnson.

Pictured Lef to Right, Top to Bottom: AJ, Lauren, Marcus, Gracia, Mardel, Erin, Dasha and Henry. Not pictured: Teal Johnson.

Pictured from Left to Right: Mardel, Lauren, Erin, Teal, and Ceci

Pictured from Left to Right: Mardel, Lauren, Erin, Teal, and Ceci

Meet the Board

Lauren curwick- presidenT

Lauren Curwick graduated in the spring of 2015 from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities with a Bachelors of Science in Psychology and minor in Biology. Lauren spent a year and a half in a small coastal town of South Carolina as an AmeriCorps VISTA service member for one year and a Medical Scribe for Tidelands Health in the Emergency Department during the remainder of her time. Throughout the year of 2017, Lauren volunteered her time to illustrate a children's book called 'My Dog Named Hope,' which won a silver Benjamin Franklin award for book design. The book has raised over $50,000 for The MACC Fund and Designing Dreams. She began medical school in August of 2017 at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, WI with the hopes of becoming a physician in the area of pediatric oncology. Since that time, she has become involved in many research, community service and quality improvement opportunities. Her favorite part about Designing Dreams is seeing the child's face when they see their transformed dream room for the first time. It is what makes all of the behind the scenes hard work worth it, and Lauren loves being able to make an impact in such deserving children's lives with some of her best friends by her side. Lauren is looking forward to the day she can be apart of pediatric cancer patient's medical care.

MARDEL CURWICK- Director of design

Mardel Curwick founded and operates a design business called The Elegant Interior. Mardel's favorite part about Designing Dreams is envisioning the projects and seeing the designs come to life. The expression on the children's faces as a result has been the most rewarding aspect of Mardel's career as a designer.

Erin monasterio- Secretary

Erin graduated in the spring of 2015 from the University of Minnesota- Twin Cities with a Bachelors degree in Communication Studies. Erin is currently working at the University of Minnesota Foundation as the Call Center Supervisor. Her favorite part about Designing Dreams is being able to make in impact in children's lives with her best friends. Hearing about everything each child and their family go through and then getting to see their faces when the new room is revealed makes all the hard work worth it for Erin.

Teal johnson- Treasurer

Teal Johnson graduated in the spring of 2015 from the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities with a Bachelors of Science in Psychology. She is currently attending law school at Syracuse University, and hopes to become a criminal or corporate attorney. Her favorite part of Designing Dreams is meeting and getting to know the children and their families. Each child and their support system is inspiring and a joy to experience even if just for a short time. Giving back to very deserving children is what makes all the planning and fundraising worth it for Teal.

Ken Bockhorst- Board Member

Ken joined Badger Meter in October 2017 as Chief Operating Officer, and was appointed President in April 2018. Prior to Badger Meter he served as Executive Vice President of Actuant’s Energy Segment since April 2016. Before his role as EVP at Actuant, he served as the President of Hydratight and Global Vice President of Operations for their Industrial Segment. Prior to Actuant he served in various roles of increasing responsibility at Eaton and Idex in Operations and Marketing. Ken received his BA from Marian University and an Executive Master of Business Administration from the University of Wisconsin- Madison. Ken also serves on the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin Board of Directors. "I’m excited to join this team because of the joy they have been providing to children over the past several years. I look forward to helping the organization continue to provide respite to those who need it most for the next several years."

Holly Deyoung- Board Member

Holly hails from Beaver Dam for the past 20+ years, has a professional background in Human Resources and is excited to be able to give back through our unique organization. As a new member to the Board, Holly is eager to be a part of the redesign process from beginning to end. She is looking forward to meeting the families and seeing the looks on their faces at the big reveal.

todd hedberg- Board member

Todd is the managing partner of over 300,000 sq. ft. of commercial space in the Wisconsin market. His background focuses extensively on sales, marketing, and budget preparation. Todd currently serves on the board of the Peder Hedberg Foundation and Church Health Services and is a past board member of the Dodge County Humane Society. After attending Designing Dreams' fundraisers as both a guest speaker and donor, he was asked to join the board. He looks forward to working with this organization and is honored to help with their mission.

Mark Roedl- Board member

Mark has been involved in sales and account management for over 30 years, primarily in the food processing industry. Upon learning about Designing Dreams mission, he became very supportive of our cause. Mark is excited to be a part of our team to help us achieve our goals in years to come.

Meet the Volunteer Teams

Creative team

AJ Riehbrandt- photographer & videographer

AJ graduated from the University of Wisconsin- Oshkosh in December of 2016 with a degree in Art and Photography. AJ is currently job searching but wants to utilize his photography, videography and creative skills. In his free time, AJ enjoys taking photographs of friends and surroundings. His favorite part about Designing Dreams is seeing the reactions of the children when they first step into their rooms. AJ is lucky enough to be on the other side of the door filming the children’s reactions, so he truly has the best seat in the house.

Welcome to our gallery! Here, you can explore our transformation projects, complete with a biography, picture, and gallery of the bedroom redesign process. Click on the buttons below to view each full gallery.



Macy is a spunky 13 year-old girl from Fairwater, Wisconsin. On April 21, 2018, everything changed for Macy and her family. That day started off as a normal day for Macy as she attended a volleyball camp. When she arrived home, her mom noticed a bump on her neck. By that night, she was transported to Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin for X-Rays, blood work, CT scans, a bone marrow test, and removal of a lymph node, which all lead to the final diagnosis of B-Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. This type cancer affects B-Cells, which is a white blood cell for fighting off infections. Since that time, Macy has had multiple rounds of chemotherapy and bone marrow biopsies. Because of her treatment, she began to lose her appetite and experienced weight loss leading to an NG tube, which is a special feeding tube that helps with administration of nutrition and medicines. This made a world of difference for Macy helping her to keep up her strength. Throughout this journey with cancer, Macy’s family has learned that life is too short to worry about the little things and to have trust in God to get through it.

Macy has a long road of treatment ahead, but she is a strong, brave warrior. Since starting treatment, Macy is often tired and run down. Despite bad days, her fun, upbeat, silly self continues to shine. In her free time Macy loves to ride golf carts, play games, surround herself with friends and play with her pets. After starting treatment, her parents knew just what she needed - her very own puppy who she named Daisy! Macy also loves to paint and work on her sewing machine. Her favorite colors are teal and blue shades, light pink, and gold. The positivity Macy and her family continue to demonstrate is an inspiration. We had so much transforming her bedroom into a special space filled with her favorite things in every corner. #MacyStrong#TeamMacy



Oliver is a smart, sweet 14 year-old boy from Kenosha, Wisconsin. At the age of 7, he was diagnosed with standard risk Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia on May 3, 2011. He underwent 3.5 years of the treatment at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin. His treatment was difficult, but with 90-95% success stats, there was hope. 3 months after ringing the bell, marking the end of treatment, the unexpected happened. Oliver was experiencing chronic headaches and double vision before an MRI was performed revealing accumulation of spinal fluid and swollen optic nerves. An LP revealed relapse in his spinal fluid. After following a 2 year protocol treatment plan, which included radiation to his brain/head, Oliver's second port. 2 short months later, he relapsed once again. At this point, the therapy options were limited and Oliver decided against enduring additional aggressive chemotherapy followed a bone marrow transplant. Thankfully, CAR-T was proving to have success at the time, and his mom was able to convince Oliver to give it one last fight. He qualified for a clinical trial at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, but had a 5-6 month wait. A double-lumen central line was placed and this sent Oliver into a depression. He lived with the line for more than a year, while his mom flushed it daily and changed the dressing. Certain types of the experimental chemotherapy that were used caused seizure-like side effects and irritation/inflammation after repeated doses. At one point, his oncologists were convinced he had formed a rare tumor of leukemia cells on his spine and they performed biopsies and surgery to rule it out in order to remain eligible for the clinical trial. In July of 2017, Oliver received what would be his first of three CAR-T infusions. The T cells failed to persist so he received a transfusion in November and again in January. Currently, Oliver's blood is tested monthly and he receives IVIG to compensate for low IgG levels.

Throughout this journey, Oliver has learned that there are things in life that are out of your control. It's a priceless gift he learned at the age of 7 and again at 10 and 12 with relapses. His mother states, “I learned to grieve for the first time, which has proven to be a lifesaver in all areas of my life again and again. We learned how to live life while holding hands with death at the same time. We learned to make the most of what we have - each day, week, month. We learned to hold any plans and expectations loosely, and to be immensely thankful when the future became the present. We learned to sacrifice for one another and forgive reality for disappointing us. Last, but not least, there are a bajillion awesome humans on this planet fighting cancer in the lab, in the hospital bed/crib, on their knees, behind the radiation, making wishes come true, placing IVs, donating blood, dispensing medications, knitting hats, and even designing dream bedrooms!”

We were SO excited to make this dream bedroom happen. Oliver is a curious boy, and he can't help but be drawn to all things magnificent in creation. He loves history, maps and geography, and biology. Oliver is a serious birder. He loves collecting plants, rocks, feathers and eggs. He is known to paint beautiful pictures of birds when the mood strikes him, and his camera is his best friend. When he isn’t creating masterpieces or traveling to find species of birds that he’s never seen, he enjoys watching nature documentaries, reading, listening to music, and doodling maps. His favorite colors are coral and turquoise. Oliver deserved a special oasis filled with his favorite things - a place where he can explore, learn, create, dream and recover. We helped this come to life in November of 2018. #TeamOliver



Jaxson is a 5 year-old boy from Burlington, Wisconsin. In September of 2015, he was diagnosed with severe autism at 2 years old. Just two short months later, Jaxson woke up in excruciating pain in his hips and could not stand. His parents took him to the ER before being transferred immediately to a larger hospital after leukemia cells were detected. Later that day, on December 9, 2015, Jaxson was diagnosed with Pre-B Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia.

Jaxson is nonverbal, but he understands much of what his parents say to him. He is able to communicate what he wants with a tablet that speaks for him. Leukemia treatment along with autism has been very difficult for Jaxson and his family. However, Jaxson thrives on routine, so he has gotten to the point where he actually enjoys chemo days at the hospital. On those days he gets a lot of attention, eats treats and his favorite foods, and is able to watch tv all day! It hasn’t always been easy though of course. The first year was very rough on him. He did not understand what was going on with his body or why people were hurting him. Taking vital signs, getting bloodwork, going through the port accesses, and getting an NG (feeding) tube at one point were all very difficult. Currently Jaxson takes oral chemotherapy at home everyday. He also goes to the hospital monthly for IV chemotherapy. Jaxson has been incredibly strong and brave, and his family has learned so much since the start of this journey with cancer.

Jaxson’s room is currently brown, green and cream colored with owls. He still has a crib, and his parents said it’s the perfect time to make the transition to a big boy bed! Since Jaxson is nonverbal, it’s hard to know what all of his interests are. He loves to toss balls with his parents and watch videos on his iPad. He likes to watch the same movies and tv shows over and over again. The Cars movies and the two Monsters INC movies are his current favorites, and he loves mickey mouse clubhouse. He loves his sensory toys, such as squishy balls, light up toys, glow sticks, bubbles, sand, water, water beads, colored lights, and anything with wheels. He also likes toys that move on their own, super soft rugs or blankets, and noisemakers. He loves his big physical toys like, swings, ladders, rock climbing walls, slides, ect. Jaxson’s bravery throughout this journey is an absolute inspiration. We had so much fun creating a special space where he can play with his favorite toys, watch his favorite movies, and rest and recover. We are #TeamJaxson



Meet one of our next bedroom candidates, a 14 year-old boy from Green Bay, WI area named Nat! When Nat was born, he had bleeding on his brain resulting in developmental delays characteristic of autism, which includes speech delays and difficulty with social interactions. Last year he began developing chest pain that was initially thought to be viral, but it progressed and a rheumatoid workup was completed with negative results. His symptoms continued, and he began to develop abdominal pain. He was ultimately diagnosed with desmoplastic small round blue cell tumor in May of 2017. This is a rare cancer with tumors formed in the abdomen. He underwent several weeks of chemo before receiving scans which did not show improvement. Therefore, a different chemo was started at the end of August and currently has shown some progress. Initially he was hospitalized for several days for chemotherapy but is now able to receive treatment administered at home. It causes him to be very tired and have taste issues. As a result, he only eats select foods and receives tube feedings. The hope is for the tumors to shrink enough from the chemotherapy for Nat to eventually have extensive surgery in hopes of obtaining remission.

Nat’s family has learned that Nat is stronger and more resilient than any of them could have ever imagined. He was initially very scared when he was first diagnosed due to his only past experience with cancer was his Grandpa who was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and passed away a short 3 months later. It has taught Nat and his family to be more resilient overall and enjoy the small things in life a bit more. He is very proud of himself for being so brave through all the procedures.

Nat is very intelligent when it comes to dates and typically asks everyone he meets how old they are, and he then tells them what year they were born. He very much enjoys speaking to family and friends on the phone. Nat has loved road signs since he was very young and has them dispersed throughout his room. When he was younger he would always have his parents take the long way home so he could see more stop signs. He likes to visit his Grandma in Florida and likes the road signs in her retirement community. He loves to go out to eat at fast food places, specifically A&W, Little Caesars and Dairy Queen. He even has hopes of working at the Dairy Queen drive thru. He likes to hang out and look at pictures on his iPad or watch car videos. One of his favorite shows to watch is the Big Bang Theory. Nat also enjoys looking through new car brochures from the dealerships and going for rides in people’s cars. Throughout Nat’s journey, the resilience and bravery that he has demonstrated are an inspiration. We can’t wait to create him a special, comfortable oasis where he can dream and be surrounded by his road signs and filled with his favorite things. We can’t wait to hangout with Nat and his family while bringing his dream bedroom to life! We are #TeamNat



Meet our next wonderful little bedroom recipient from Minnesota! Joelle is a 7 year-old girl who was diagnosed with B-ALL leukemia on September 19th of 2017. In the middle of July her parents found a lump on her head. After a multiple doctor appointments, they determined it was a benign tumor and it could be removed. The tumor was scheduled to be removed in September. In August, she complained of pain in her back and sides, but there were no apparent abnormalities on x-rays. When she started school in September, she seemed to be more tired than usual and had bruising on her legs. When she went for a pre-operative exam to remove the mass she had a swollen lymph node on her neck and a fever. After several appointments and blood work, her pediatrician was very concerned and told Joelle’s parents to go to Children's right away. On the night of September 19th, Joelle and her family were given the devastating diagnosis of leukemia. Joelle spent the first 2 months in the hospital. After the first month of treatment, she was feeling very sick and had difficulties walking. Joelle is now in a treatment phase where most of her treatment is outpatient, and she goes to clinic twice a week. She is now able to go to school part time and dance when her counts are high enough and is feeling well. Joelle has 2-3 years of treatment ahead, and she has many people rooting for her along the way.

Joelle is already ready to give back by dropping off Christmas presents to Masonic Children's Hospital, coffee gift cards to the nurses, and working lemonade stands to help raise money for cancer research. Her dance studio has been a huge part of this journey - rallying "dancers against cancer."

Joelle is a 2nd grader, dancer, sister, friend and amazing little girl. She has a ton of spunk and energy and has remained so positive throughout her treatment. Her favorite things to do are dance, play pretend with her 3 year-old sister Claire, have dance parties, play dolls and have tea time. She recently received her very first American girl doll, and we would love to create a space for her to play with dolls and drink tea with her sister and friends. Joelle expresses her creativity in many ways. She loves to write, play pretend, make crafts, etc. She even showed us her chapter book she wrote and illustrated about her journey with cancer so far! Designing Dreams can’t wait to create a wonderful space to play for such a special girl! We are #TeamJoelle



Dakaicia, age 12, was diagnosed with lymphoma in August of 2017. However, this is not her first major medical battle faced. She experienced kidney failure in January of 2013 and was placed on dialysis until May 2017 when she underwent a kidney transplant. 3 months later, she was diagnosed with the unimaginable, cancer. She currently receives chemotherapy in the hospital every Thursday. Dakaicia has had many hospital stays due to complications, blood transfusions, and side effects.

Dakaicia is a sweet, shy girl who has wonderful aspirations of becoming an astronomist or archeologist. She loves anything space related. Her interests also include creative projects related to astrology, painting, or building Legos. Her favorite books are the Harry Potter series, which she is in the process of reading for the first time. When able to, she loves to visit the Planetarium and Discovery World with her grandma. Another favorite of hers is playing video games. Dakaicia hopes for a blue and purple colored space, books to fill her shelves, and maybe even a telescope!

One of Dakaicia’s favorite things is playing outside with her friends, but unfortunately her treatment has affected her ability to do so. She now spends the majority of her time in her room to rest and recover. We were so excited to be able to get to know Dakaicia and her grandmother. Our goal was to transform her room into the perfect escape where she can create, learn about space, explore her curiosity, and most importantly, recover in a positive, encouraging environment. We are #TeamDakaicia.



Andrew is a courageous, 11 year-old boy from Kenosha, WI who is facing his second battle against cancer. In June of 2008, at 2 years old, he was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL). He endured over 3 years of treatment, including chemotherapy and painful lumbar punctures. In October of 2016 Andrew relapsed with ALL. After relapse he stayed in the hospital from around Thanksgiving time through New Year's, staying at home only about 25 days in the first 4 months of treatment. Andrew is once again undergoing chemotherapy and is currently looking at an additional year and a half of active treatment, which is much more difficult with stronger, more intense doses of chemo.

Andrew also has Ataxic Cerebral Palsy which impacts the muscle tone in his legs and sometimes his balance. He tends to walk on his toes and at times struggles with fine motor control. He was born premature and in combination with the chemotherapy injections into his spinal fluid he has learning delays and processing issues. He has always been an outgoing, social boy, but as of late he has struggled with anxiety and self-image due to fatigue and hair loss.

When we walked into Andrew’s room for the first time, there is no doubt he finds his safe place and escape in his room filled with Legos. In every corner you find Star Wars toys and Star Wars characters built from Legos. In addition to Legos, Andrew loves all animals, especially golden retrievers and riding horses at a therapy program. Andrew was sharing a room with his brother until January 2017. He now has his own space Designing Dreams transformed into his dream bedroom- A Star Wars escape where he can create, play, and recover back to his energetic self. August of 2017 we had so much fun transforming a place for this fun-loving boy, Andrew! #TeamAndrew


Clementine (Emmy), age 8, was diagnosed in November 2016 with bleeding on the brain due to a tumor. After a successful surgery to remove the tumor, her family had the final devastating diagnosis of cancer, Glioblastoma Multiforme grade 4 (GBM). She went through 6 weeks of radiation and is now participating in a clinical trial in Pittsburgh to increase her chances of a positive prognosis. The trial is run by the University of Pittsburgh at Children’s.

Clementine is a wonderful, loving 8 year-old little girl who is continuously expressing generosity and thinking about others, especially her sister Penelope (Penny). She enjoys expressing her creativity throwing different outfits together, and her family jokes that she could be the next Betsy Johnson. Her unique creativity also extends to her art projects. Emmy and Penny hoped to have cozy spaces to curl up and read their books.

Despite the difficult battle Clementine is facing, she continues to remain positive and think about others. Designing Dreams' goal was to create a perfect escape for Penny and Emmy where they can read a good book or create a masterpiece. Emmy lights up a room with her smile and her positive energy is undeniable. It was wonderful getting to know Emmy and her entire family. #TeamClementine



Bella is a spunky 14 year-old girl with an obsession for makeup and a creative passion for painting, DIY projects, watching Netflix, making videos and singing. She also enjoys biking and mountain biking.  Her favorite colors include lavender, baby blue, dusty rose and maroon. Bella’s dream job is to be a movie makeup artist or actress.

In December 2015, Bella developed a hard lump on her left hand after hanging from a pull up bar. Her primary care physician ordered X-Rays, which showed damage to the bone in her hand. A follow-up CT scan showed probable malignancy. After surgical excision of her tumor, Bella was diagnosed with Rhabdomyosarcoma, a rare cancer that affects connective tissue in the body. Throughout 2016, Bella endured a long, difficult treatment path. She underwent chemotherapy weekly, sometimes daily for a week, from the end of January 2016 until just recently. She also received daily doses of regular and highly concentrated radiation for 5½ weeks. Through her strength and perseverance, Bella’s treatment has shown excellent results.

Bella has remained optimistic throughout her journey, immersing herself in artistic activities and keeping a courageous, positive attitude. We hope to surround Bella with her favorite things, providing her a room where she can let her creativity soar, whether it is doing makeup, creating art pieces, or making movies. Designing Dreams is so excited to work with this glamorous girl and her family throughout late winter of 2017!


Let us introduce you to Henry. Henry is a lively, social little boy from Minneapolis, Minnesota who was diagnosed with Leukemia in February of 2015. Treatment for Henry's type of leukemia typically lasts a total of 3 and a half years, the 3rd year being required only for males. The first year of treatment was intense and Henry was very ill. He lost his hair, his appetite, and his energy. He also battled ear infections, colds, diarrhea, vomiting, and anger and sadness. The steroids Henry takes make him feel these intense emotions. Many days were spent at the hospital for treatment, and his care team became a second family.

Henry's response to treatment thus far has been fairly good. Currently he is developing a condition called neuropathy, which causes him to lose feeling in his arms and legs causing him to fall and trip frequently. Other side effects have caused a rash to spread across his entire face, brain fog, and slurred speech. Unfortunately, like many other children, he will have long term chemotherapy effects, which could include development of an additional form of cancer. He will have cognitive issues, dental issues, and muscle and bone issues as a result.

Despite Henry’s hardships at a young age, he still enjoys being a very active 3 year old! He has a passion for anything hockey and loves superheroes and cars. He is also very intelligent, never wanting to a put a book down. Henry’s creativity is undeniable, shown in his love for building.

The Designing Dreams team was beyond thrilled to complete Henry’s bedroom transformation in December 2016! Our goal was to capture his positive and creative energy within our work. We feel privileged to have had the chance to work with and get to know Henry and his family. Henry and his family have been a blessing to Designing Dreams!


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Meet Cecilia, our 7th bedroom transformation recipient! In April of 2016, Ceci was diagnosed with a Stage 3 Wilms Tumor. As a result, she underwent surgery in May 2016 at the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin. The surgical team was able to remove the entire pineapple size tumor along with her left kidney and part of her diaphragm. In the same month, Ceci began radiation and chemo treatments which are scheduled to last through the upcoming year. Ceci’s father, mother, and sister have all demonstrated incredible strength throughout this difficult journey. Her mother is currently taking time off of work to support Ceci and all of her needs. Please take a look at the link below to learn more about Ceci’s story and how you can help: https://www.youcaring.com/cecilia-anschutz-56…/update/513678

Ceci is described as a girly-girl, extremly sweet, smart, kind, animated, and quite the goofball! She loves to play outside, jump off the dock into the lake, visit with family, play with friends, dance, and cook. Ceci’s dream job is to either be a chef, dancer, singer, or piano player. The Designing Dreams team was extremely thrilled to transform a space for Ceci in October 2016! #TeamCeci 


Meet out next bedroom recipient, Mason! Mason is an adorable four-year-old boy from St. Paul, Minnesota who was diagnosed with B-Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) when he was two. ALL is a cancer of the white blood cells, the cells that are used to fight infections. Since his initial diagnosis, he has undergone induction therapy and has also endured many rounds of both intravenous (IV) and spinal chemotherapy. Mason has responded very well to treatment – yet he continues to receive monthly IV chemotherapy as well as spinal chemotherapy every three months. In addition to receiving chemotherapy at the hospital, he has many medications to take, sometimes reaching up to 14 pills in a single day. As a result of Mason’s extensive treatment, he has chronic leg pain, making it hard for him to keep up with his brother and sister (Kole and Ava). However, this doesn’t stop him from being the wild and fun little boy that he is!

Mason is truly a trooper and always has a smile on his face, which is extremely inspirational considering his difficult treatment. Mason currently shares a room with his twin brother, Kole. It is no surprise that Mason and his brother have a special bond; Kole always misses his brother during the hospital stays and numerous medical appointments Mason must attend. Both boys admire superheros: Mason loves Batman, while his brother loves Spiderman. The twins spend time coloring together, and often show off their artwork around their room.

The Designing Dreams team loved giving Mason a new reason to smile throughout the midst of all his treatments; a fun new room to play in, filled with his favorite toys! We hoped to transform Mason and Kole’s bedroom, capturing their energetic, fun spirits. Our team love to work with such an inspiring, bubbly fighter and his family in May 2016. #TeamMason


Meet Grant, our fifth bedroom transformation recipient! Grant is a 13-year-old boy from Georgetown, South Carolina. Grant recently came down with a cough, and he was sent to the Medical University of South Carolina after doctors found a mass in his chest. Grant was diagnosed with T-Cell Lymphoma on August 31, 2015. He will be undergoing treatment for the next two-and-a-half years; the first six months being the most rigorous. Grant is unable to leave the hospital (whenever he has a fever) until his counts are high enough to fight infections on his own. He has been in and out of the hospital frequently due to a persistent cold.

Grant loves to hunt, fish, and play golf. As a result of his treatment, he will not have the energy to do the things he loves – such as go outside and hang out with friends. Grant’s family and friends describe him as having an awesome sense of humor. Since his diagnosis, he has been a source of strength for his family. Grant is extremely driven in school, having been on the honor roll since third grade! Every day his attitude is awesome, and his faith is strong.

The Designing Dreams team enjoyed working with Grant and his family in January of 2016. Over the next couple of years, Grant will be spending a lot of time in his room. We were so excited to give him a space to escape to! ‪#‎TeamGrant‬


Meet our fourth bedroom recipient, Hailey! Hailey is a beautiful ten-year-old girl from Wisconsin who was diagnosed with high-grade anaplastic ependymoma in 2007. Anaplastic ependymoma is a condition that causes cancerous tumors in both her brain and spine. Hailey is a tough little girl who has undergone numerous surgeries, radiation and chemo treatments, as well as difficult procedures including spinal taps, MRIs, and more. She is currently enduring daily oral chemo treatments at home in addition to chemotherapy at the hospital every two weeks. Through the midst of her treatments, we are ecstatic to provide Hailey with an unforgettable bedroom transformation that can help take her mind off of her many treatments

Hailey has an infectious smile and brings a joyful presence into every room. She is extremely outgoing, and she loves to draw. Hailey especially enjoys writing cards to people that are sick. Like many young girls, pink and purple are her favorite colors. Hailey loves music and also the outdoors - one of her favorite things is to go fishing with her dad. 

The Designing Dreams team was beyond excited to complete Hailey’s transformation in October 2015! Our goal was to capture her bright spirit within our work. Our team felt privileged to work with such an inspiring, positive, beautiful fighter. #TeamHailey


Meet our third bedroom redesign project recipient, Ben! Ben was diagnosed with Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma (ALCL), a relatively rare Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma, in January 2014. He completed his first round of treatment in May of 2014 but relapsed in June of 2014. He then started a different series of chemotherapy and received an umbilical stem cell transplant in September 2014. Ben’s treatment plan for the next year is to continue his rehabilitation and attend daily medical appointments. Although this past year Ben has faced many difficult medical battles, he has approached each situation with his humor proving he continually makes the best of every situation.

While Ben’s illness keeps him from his regular activities, including school, he still has a passion for an abundance of activities. Ben likes reading, loves video games and enjoys history. Outdoors, he enjoys swimming, sailing, camping, and playing in the yard with his friends. In the winter, he also enjoys skiing and snowboarding. Ben is an active Boy Scout, plays the violin, and sings in a choir. He seeks to make his community a better place by volunteering in a variety of ways. Ben's favorite colors are green and blue. 

Designing Dreams redesigned Ben's bedroom in April of 2015.  


Jared is a 12 year old boy who has Langerhans Cell Histiocytosis (LCH), a cancer-like condition. LCH involves a proliferation of Langerhans or abnormal cells deriving from the bone marrow, which can migrate from skin to lymph nodes and can result in bone lesions as well as multisystem disease. He has a specific neurodegenerative type which affects his central nervous system leaving which has resulted in some physical limitations, cognitive issues etc. His speech at times is slurred. He is currently undergoing chemo for LCH. He has been getting chemo for a little over two years. His balance is off, so he needs somebody close by because he could fall at any time. He has had 133 chemo treatments so far and has never cried or had a negative attitude about any of it.

At the moment, Jared goes to school for half days where he must use a wheelchair. Jared is limited to what he can do because of mobility issues. His favorite things are Transformers, Legos too, and the Three Stooges. Jared’s favorite colors are green and red. He holds a lot of emotions inside. When his mother told him about Designing Dreams, he said he was so excited he was about to burst!

Designing Dreams redesigned Jared's bedroom in July of 2014. 


When Jessica was only 3 years old she was diagnosed with you Ewing’s Sarcoma in her left tibia. She underwent chemo and radiation and was declared in remission. 

Then, in July of 2008, the cancer was back - this time in her shoulder blade. She had more chemo and more radiation; in May of 2009 she was considered in remission again. In August of 2010, on routine scans, it was found the cancer was back in both her tibia and shoulder blade. 

Jessica underwent more chemo and then surgery. February 3rd of 2011 she had her shoulder blade amputated and on March 22nd 2011 she had her leg amputated. That very night, after waking up from surgery, she wanted Auntie Anne's Pretzels, with extra cheese, and a blue Icee!

She finished chemo and 3 months later, on another routine scan, a spot was found in her lung. It was decided to wait and watch it for a while. In November of 2012, Jessica and her family decided it was time to see what she was dealing with. Jess had a biopsy and lung ablation. The biopsy came back positive for Ewing’s and once again, she was back on chemo. In July 2013, the unthinkable happened. The cancer had metastasized to her brain. 

Jessica completed 19 days of whole brain radiation on August 13th of 2013. Recently after undergoing more treatment, doctors found that the tumors had shrunk over 50%. Great news!

Designing Dreams redesigned Jessica's bedroom in January of 2014. We appreciate every single supporter throughout the process of making this little girl’s dream come true. 

We are privileged to have support in many communities. Here you will find videos and pictures from our early fundraising days, benefits, and other events!

Join us for our Wisconsin Dream Benefit September 9, 2018! 


Wisconsin Benefit 2017

Photography by AJ Rhiebrandt and Marcus VerHage

Photography by AJ Rhiebrandt and Marcus VerHage

2017 Wisconsin Event Sponsors

Dream Team title sponsor

Adams Transit

Dream Sponsor

Auto Plus

Neuman Pools

Inspiration sponsor

J. Poels Financial Management Services

Hometown Glass

Hope sponsor

Dr. Dean Wahl

Todd and Lisa Hedberg

Driving for Dreams 2017 Golf Outing

Hole Sponsors

In Loving Memory of Jessica Helmbreck - Hogz and Honeez - Heiar Insurance - Chili Johns - In Loving Memory of Randy Tiedt - Wally's Auto - Kris Klowdowski - In Loving Memory of Karlis Riteris - Contree - American Lending - Schultz Auto - K&B Lawn Care - Crystal Waters Productions - My Dog Named Hope - Trends Salon - Koepsell Murray Funeral Home - Horicon Bank - Title Consultants - Todd and Lisa Hedberg - Ptaschinski Construction - Bader Plumbing and Renovation - Neumann Pools Inc

Lake Days Dream Catchers

An afternoon in the park making dream catchers with children and spreading awareness of Designing Dreams and the importance of helping others.

Wisconsin Benefit 2016

In Loving Memory of our Designing Dreams Angel, Jessica Helmbreck. 

Photography by AJ Riehbrandt

Photography by AJ Riehbrandt

2016 Wisconsin Event sponsors

Dream Sponsor

Auto Plus

Rechek's Food Pride

Inspiration Sponsor

J. Poels Financial LLC

Richards Insurance

Ryan Curwick

Hope sponsor

American National Bank

Horicon Bank

National Exchange Bank

Minnesota Benefit 2016

Photography by Hannah Hoglund

2016 Minnesota Event Sponsors 

Blair's Tree of Hope
Blue Plate Co.
Broadway Pizza
Donatos Floral
Lunt Family Foundation
Red Cow
Russell & Cindy Scott

Wisconsin Benefit 2015

2015 Wisconsin Event Sponsors

American National Bank


Horicon Bank

Johnny's Lounge

Kaljm Salon & Spa

Park Avenue

Rechek's Food Pride

Richard's Insurance

Ryan Curwick

United Auto Parts

Fundraising at the University of Minnesota: Bake Sales, Buffalo Wild Wings, Chipotle, and more.

We are always searching for our next project. Apply below for a potential bedroom redesign.

* Please note: we accept applications on an ongoing basis for children 4 - 14 years of age with cancer and cancer - like conditions, currently undergoing treatment. Children must reside in the states of Wisconsin or Minnesota (location exceptions considered if funding and/or other partnership(s) allow). Please refer to full Rules & Regulations before submitting application. 

Name of Candidate *
Name of Candidate
Your Name *
Your Name
Phone Number *
Phone Number
Address *
Do you / they rent or own the residence? *
Please provide a rough estimate of the child's bedroom size, floor plan, and any other relevant information we may need to know about the bedroom.
Please tell us a bit about the child's medical timeline in this space provided.
Please tell us a bit about the child's current treatment and/or any hardships they may face on a daily basis.
Please include any other information you'd like the Dream Team to consider within this application.

Our Partners

Our partners are dedicated to serving children facing cancer and cancer-like conditions. We believe that collaboration with other nonprofits, foundations, and corporations is key to making a difference in pediatric oncology patients’ lives through service as well as defeating the fight against pediatric cancer. To find out more about partnering with Designing Dreams, please contact Lauren Curwick at laurencurwick@designingdreamsusa.com. To become a partner click here. You hold the power to make a difference.

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My Dog Named Hope

My Dog Named Hope is a children's book about a special girl, her amazing dog, and one family's journey through childhood cancer. Written by Joe Dean and illustrated by Lauren Curwick. All proceeds benefit Designing Dreams and the MACC Fund. Please visit https://www.mydognamedhope.com/ for book purchases or contact Lauren Curwick at laurencurwick@designingdreamsusa.com. 


Love Your melon

Love Your Melon is an apparel brand dedicated to giving a hat to every child battling cancer in America as well as supporting nonprofit organizations who lead the fight against pediatric cancer.

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The Peder Hedberg Foundation

The Peder Hedberg Foundation exists to fund programs that support children and families through the ministries of not-for-profit Christian Camps and Conference Centers, not-forprofit programs working with children with disabilities, and not-for-profit organizations that advance elementary education.



Auto PlusSM is a company of automotive professionals and enthusiasts committed to providing customers with a superior selection of name-brand products, the advanced technologies and an approach to service that’s unmatched throughout the industry.

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make-a-wish minnesota

Make-A-Wish serves a unique, and vital, role in helping strengthen and empower children battling life-threatening medical conditions.

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Mittera Group

Mittera Group is a multi platform communications company that specializes in print, digital, design and data services driven by smart marketing strategies. Their mission is to help our customers be successful by developing long term win-win partnerships.


Pillow Story

Pillow Story designs and sells pillowcases that inspire strength. They donate 50% of profits to organizations in need of extra strength.

"Our pillows are the first things we see when we wake up and the last things we see before we fall asleep. They catch our tears,  give us comfort, and are the closest to our thoughts. Our Pillows carry our story. Let them be a reminder that we can do anything."

Throughout our time as an organization, we have had the privilege of being featured in the media. Take an inside look into our process from the very beginning. 

Ever since I read a book about a little girl with cancer, I immediately wanted to be that sort of doctor.
— Lauren Curwick

Delivering Steep and Brew to Designing Dreams


"Beaver Dam native helps children with cancer"

Lauren Curwick, president, featured in Daily Citizen of Beaver Dam, WI. 

Lauren Curwick, president, featured in Daily Citizen of Beaver Dam, WI. 

Picture featured in South Strand News from Grant's bedroom transformation in Georgetown, SC.

Picture featured in South Strand News from Grant's bedroom transformation in Georgetown, SC.

Designing Dreams seen pictured at the KSTP Rockstar Row show - December 12th, 2014. 

Designing Dreams seen pictured at the KSTP Rockstar Row show - December 12th, 2014. 

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Designing Dreams was featured in "The Arrow," a Pi Beta Phi publication, in the Fall 2014 issue. 

Erin Monasterio and Becca Scott seen featured in Maple Grove Magazine, June 2014. 

Erin Monasterio and Becca Scott seen featured in Maple Grove Magazine, June 2014. 

The Beaver Dam Daily Citizen featured The Peder Hedberg Foundation donation. More information about The Peder Hedberg Foundation can be viewed on our "Donate" tab on the upper right hand corner of our website.

The Beaver Dam Daily Citizen featured The Peder Hedberg Foundation donation. More information about The Peder Hedberg Foundation can be viewed on our "Donate" tab on the upper right hand corner of our website.

Teal Johnson and Lauren Curwick featured on the cover of InSpire, March 2014.

Teal Johnson and Lauren Curwick featured on the cover of InSpire, March 2014.

We'd like to thank Marcus VerHage and AJ Riehbrandt for being spectacular videographers throughout each project - and Hannah Hoglund for beautifully capturing the photographs seen featured on the top of each page on this website. Thank you all for your work as part of the Dream Team, we couldn't document our journey without them.

You can help build the extraordinary. 

We are searching for passionate, talented, and joyful people to be a part of something bigger. Our team is currently lead by a small community of driven individuals in a fun-loving environment. We come from humble beginnings and now we are recruiting those who want to help us build our organization and take Designing Dreams to the next level. Passionate people are the core of social change, growth, and every bright idea.

If you are ready to be a voice that matters, help us build our program by taking a look below at our openings. Simply download and submit the application via email to the board member listed with the respective form. If we feel your application fits with what we are seeking, you will be contacted for an interview. 

We are ready for growth, change, and new perspectives for Designing Dreams. Are you?

Volunteer Committee Positions

Finance Committee

The Finance team is responsible for tracking all donations and expenses, budget planning, and financial reports.  Additionally, collaboration with the other committees is required for budgeting, bookkeeping, financial audits and implementing a finance strategy.  The purpose of the finance committee is to ensure financial stability as the organization continues to grow. 

Submit to Teal Johnson: tealjohnson@designingdreamsusa.com

Fundraising Committee

The Fundraising team is responsible for passion-raising in others, community empowerment and engagement, developing and maintaining donor relationships, and planning and implementing fundraising events. Additionally, collaboration with the marketing committee is required for creation of fundraising materials and planning fundraising campaigns. Collaboration with the finance committee for fundraising budgets and reporting will be necessary. Most importantly, members of the Fundraising Committee will help to implement a fundraising strategy from the ground – up helping the organization to continue to grow.

WI applications submit to Lauren Curwick: laurencurwick@designingdreamsusa.com

MN applications submit to Erin Monasterio: erinmonasterio@designingdreamsusa.com

Marketing Committee

The Marketing team is responsible for social media, website design and updates, videography / photography for all Designing Dreams events and bedroom transformations, and creation of fundraising materials. Most importantly the Marketing Committee members will help to implement a marketing strategy from the ground – up, contributing to the growth of the organization.

Submit to Lauren Curwick: laurencurwick@designingdreamsusa.com



Contact Us

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