My name is Carol Olinger and never did I think I would be a recipient of a bedroom makeover, although I can assure you that our room definitely could use it. Because of that, I think my dream team, led by Katie Klemesrud, will be kept busy. My oldest granddaughter Lauren, nominated me and I want to thank her so much.

I was diagnosed with AML(acute myeloid leukemia) in June ‘22, and life has never quite been the same. As anybody with cancer can tell you, it can be completely overwhelming as you really go through so many emotions simultaneously.

AML is a disease of the blood and the bone marrow that interferes with normal white and red blood cells and placelets. I go through 5 days of chemo drip at the cancer center in Mason City and cancer pills at home 21 to 14 days, depending.

I then have a rest period of 7 to 14 days and then I start the next cycle. I go to Mayo clinic after each cycle and have a bone marrow biopsy and doctor visits. Most all of my weekly labs and doctor appts are done in Mason City. Because AML is an auto-immune disease, I try to be careful and wear a mask when there is a doubt of sickness or infection.

It is curable, but you can go into remission for a period of time and then have a relapse where you may have to try something different.

I am fortunate to have my hero husband of 55 years, my amazing daughter and son and their families, because without their support I would not be able to manage this. They are my biggest blessings along with some fantastic cousins and some of the best friends on this earth! I had never heard of My Happy Haven before now, but now that I have, I can only tell you that I have never seen a group more willing to pay it forward. From Katie Klemesrud and her husband Jack, and the other talented designers, to the volunteer painters and workers, to the businesses and stores that contribute, I am in awe and feel truly blessed. I too will be trying my best to pay it forward in whatever way I can. This is really much more than a bedroom makeover as it renews my spirit and hope for the future. And, who in this crazy world doesn’t need that?