Or yet in wise old Ravenclaw,
If you’ve a ready mind,
Where those of wit and learning,
Will always find their kind.
—The Sorting Hat
In July 2015, Rose Kerney received a life-changing diagnosis: she had acute lymphoblastic leukemia. The Kerney family, which resides in Spring Hill, Florida, had to put off their plans to visit the nearby Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios. Instead, Rose’s mother, Angela, received a packet full of forms to fill out — apparently that’s standard when your child suddenly receives a cancer diagnosis. One of those forms was for the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Central and Northern Florida.
Rose, now 13 years old, originally wanted to go to Disney World. But as she kept spending time in the hospital, reading the Harry Potter books as she went through treatment, she realized she had a new wish. When she was out of the hospital, she wanted a brand new room designed with a Ravenclaw theme (if you don’t know your Hogwarts houses, this story may not be for you).
The mandate was blue, bronze, and magic all over.
“Ravenclaws are wise and smart and like learning things. I think I’m smart and like learning things,” Rose told us, over the phone with a wistful, soft voice. “So that makes me a Ravenclaw.”
On June 22, the Make-A-Wish Foundation set out to do exactly that. With help from Lowe’s, they spent hours putting together Rose’s room.
In the span of a day, everything came together. “They painted, they replaced the door, dresser, furniture, carpet. It’s completely different,” Angela Kerney told us. “It was super amazing to watch to see so many people working together. It was a wonderful experience. I couldn’t believe how fast, how well they did everything.”
Meanwhile, there was a Hogwarts-themed feast downstairs.
The Kerney family gushed over the kindness of the Make-A-Wish Foundation to go above and beyond to not only grant Rose’s wish for a Ravenclaw-themed room, but also to set up such a party with such elaborate snacks and decorations, with chocolate Quidditch quaffles, butterbeer, and cauldron cakes.
For Rose, however, the fun really started when the volunteers snapped into action. “I wasn’t really excited until they started doing stuff,” Rose said, “but then I was like, ‘Ooh, it’s gonna happen.'” She was ultimately extremely pleased with the final result after the big reveal, which was covered by their local news station.
According to Angela Kerney, the process of getting to choose everything was a cathartic experience for Rose. “She got to pick everything she wanted. It was wonderful. She doesn’t get to decide much stuff these days, so I think it was good for her to be able to have control of her room. It was giving her something else to think of during times when it gets kind of tough. She got a chance to take her mind off things and have something good to look forward to in the future.”
Rose, whose favorite Harry Potter character is Bellatrix “because she’s crazy,” is still a normal teenage girl in so many ways. All a teenage girl wants is a room of her own, a safe haven where your interests are on full display. And Rose got exactly what she wanted. And with a little bit of magic, it was the Make-A-Wish Foundation that made it happen. For that, Angela will always be grateful.
“All the people we have come across with at Make-A-Wish have been exceptional. They went above and beyond anything I ever expected,” she said.