Monday, December 9, 2013

Treehouse Marks 40th Project for Make-A-Wish Volunteer and PT Librarian

Make-A-Wish wish granters Liz Spering, left, and
Connie Harper, right, pose with Sophie Bunn on
Thursday at the unveiling of Sophie’s new treehouse.
PHOTO BY Les Hassell, LNJ
Article adapted from LNJ, by Angela Ward award@news-journal.com. View LNJ Article.

The unveiling of a treehouse in Sophie Bunn’s backyard on Thursday was a special event not only for the 13-year-old cancer survivor, but also for Make-A-Wish volunteer and Pine Tree Elementary Librarian, Connie Harper.

The deluxe treehouse was the 40th wish Harper has been part of granting.

“I love it,” Sophie said. “It’s way beyond my expectations.”

The treehouse is wired for electricity and has a sleeping loft above its main floor. There’s also a variety of ways to access it; from a standard ladder and a swinging redwood bridge to a rope ladder for the more adventurous.

“I’ll be able to do my homework up here, but I also plan on inviting my friends over for slumber parties,” she said.

Sophie’s friends were well-represented for the unveiling of the treehouse. Many of them are members of the Foster Middle School band, where Sophie is a majorette.

However, it won’t be a girls-only enclave. Sophie said she’ll share the space with her 9-year-old brother, Zane.

“I’ve wanted a treehouse since we first moved here, so it’s wonderful to finally have one,” she said.

Sophie, Zane and their parents — Gena and Travis Bunn — moved to Longview in 2008. She was diagnosed with a brain tumor in February.

The tumor was removed surgically and was benign. Although Sophie remains on anti-seizure medication and has regular MRI’s to check her condition, she hasn’t needed chemotherapy or radiation and seems to be doing well, her mother said.

Harper said the treehouse wish was one of the more unusual that she’s involved with since she became a Make-A-Wish volunteer nearly six years ago.

“We get a lot of requests for trips, especially to Disney World, and for shopping sprees,” Harper said. “This was my first treehouse.”

People and businesses in the community donated to the project.

Lorrie Pitre, (Pine Tree ISD's Amanda Pitre's mother-in-law) was the builder. 

Others involved included Cassity Jones, Gallery of Lights, Paint Etc., Runnels Carpets, Clint Tuel Roofing, Palpaya Structures and CCC Group.

“It’s an amazing feeling to be part of making these kids’ wishes come true,” Harper said. “It’s such a wonderful cause to be a part of.”

The Make-A-Wish Foundation grants wishes for children from 2 to 18 who have life-threatening illnesses. The most recent high-profile Make-A-Wish recipient was “Batkid,” a 5-year-old California boy who was transformed into a miniature version of his favorite super hero for a day.

“Batkid really did a lot to raise the profile of Make-A-Wish and help people understand what we do,” Harper said.

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