Organization helps others find their happy place

My Happy Haven supports women who have battled cancer

Perhaps the scariest words a person can hear from their doctor are ”you have cancer.” For the patient, what follows that diagnosis is a whirlwind of physical illness and emotional anguish that only a person who has survived it can properly describe.

Fortunately, there is hope and support for those patients. Thanks to modern medicine, cancers that were once automatic death sentences are now treatable and even curable. And there are many organizations working to support the emotional, spiritual and other needs of cancer patients.

One of the newest of those groups in Fort Dodge continues to have a positive impact in the community.

The Fort Dodge affiliate of My Happy Haven remodels the bedrooms of women suffering from cancer. It relies on donations and volunteers to produce sweeping transformations of bedrooms that might not have been changed in decades.

The latest bedroom makeover was unveiled Sunday in the home of Shelly Sanford, of Fort Dodge.

“The community of Fort Dodge has always been so supportive and giving and we’re so thankful to live in a community like this,” Sanford said during the unveiling.

Dozens of community members came forward to donate money, supplies, labor and time to Sanford’s new happy place.

Kari Swisher, of Fort Dodge, is the director of My Happy Haven — Fort Dodge. In the past, her own bedroom was remodeled by the Manson City affiliate of My Happy have.

She was so moved by what was done for her that she established the Fort Dodge branch of the group.

Judy VanAlstine, of Eagle Grove, was the next area woman to receive a bedroom makeover. That was the first project completed in October of 2020 by the new Fort Dodge affiliate of My Happy Haven.

Earlier this year, Taylor Johnson Berg, of Fort Dodge, became the third area woman to receive a bedroom makeover.

Because cancer treatments are as exhausting as the disease itself, these women are likely to spend a lot of time in the bedroom. They now have beautiful and modern places to rest and recover.

My Happy Haven provides a unique form of support for women suffering from cancer. The Messenger salutes the organization’s volunteers and the contractors who volunteer their services for these projects.


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