Local boy battling rare cancer gets bedroom makeover

MAUMEE, Ohio (WTVG) - Robby is 12 years old. He used to be an active, athletic little boy. But after a cancer diagnosis almost two years ago, he hasn't been to school since December.

Lisa Spanbauer, Robby's mom, explains, "He misses school, he misses sports. He misses being a normal kid, you know. Can't be out in public with his immune system because a cold or the flu or strep throat or vomiting would get him very very sick, and he can't recover from that like a normal person when you have an immune response so low because of the chemo."

Lisa says that some of his teachers have volunteered to come and teach him at his home since his diagnosis. He's also gotten support through Make-A-Wish and the local law enforcement-based bike club, the Punishers.

Lisa says her family has been overwhelmed with love and support from the community.

Another group came together Saturday to give Robby a brand new bedroom.

Robby says that he’s grateful: "It means a lot to me. Just because this is just my own little space that I can hang out in."

Special Spaces is the organization that made it all possible. Patti Dehenning is the Toledo chapter director. She says it was founded in Knoxville in 2004 to help kids just like Robby.

She says the founder “thought they needed a bedroom to find solitude while they're going through this terrible time, and all of their treatments, and somewhere that they love to be when they're tired and re cooperating."

When asked what it’s like to help children battling life-threatening illnesses this way, Dehenning was emotional. She explains, "It's so rewarding. It really is. When the children come in and see that room, especially Robby. He's been through so much."

Robby says he was surprised and excited when he saw his new room.

He exclaimed, "thank you and I love my dog Bo!"

Dehenning says that the organization relies heavily on donations and corporate sponsors. If you're interested in helping out, visit the Facebook page "Special Spaces Toledo".

Special Spaces has remodeled nearly 800 bedrooms since its start in 2004, 3 of those rooms here in Toledo.