Healing homes

by Shannon Rae Gentry
Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Staff photo by Allison Potter 

Composer and pianist Roya Weyerhaeuser will perform at Thalian Hall on Saturday, March 16, to benefit Welcome Home Angel.

Roya Weyerhaeuser performs for Angels

Noted composer and pianist Roya Weyerhaeuser will once again take to the Thalian Hall Main Stage to benefit the lives of others this Saturday, March 16, at 8 p.m. Weyerhaeuser was born in Iran and after her move to America in 1979, she enrolled at the Juilliard School and eventually moved to Wilmington, where she has thrived as a local community leader of the arts.  

Followed by a special ballroom reception, all proceeds from this weekend’s concert will benefit Welcome Home Angel, a nonprofit organization that helps create fun and healing home environments for southeastern North Carolina children with debilitating illnesses and injuries.

A member of Welcome Home Angel’s board of directors and co-chair to this year’s Weyerhaeuser concert, Michelle Clark said on Thursday, March 7, that key differences to this year’s event include flautist Jennifer Giordano and vocalists Roxanna and Rebecca Goudarzi.

“We’re also going to have the [Thalian Association Children’s Theater] performing this year,” she said. “And we’re really excited about that, they’re very talented.”

Welcome Home Angel works with volunteer architects, interior designers and contractors, and guardian angels, or facilitators, to help renovate the children’s rooms. Clark said the organization celebrated two children and their families during its annual luncheon on March 6. Among those who benefited from its services this past year was a young boy named Shaun.

“He stole the show basically … he was very adorable onstage,” she said. “He also has Ewing’s Sarcoma — it’s a form of cancer that usually affects older children, but he is about four years old.”

“The parents said that as soon as he was diagnosed, [Shaun] just didn’t want to go into his room anymore, not to play, to sleep or do anything,” Clark said. “It wasn’t until we did the room makeover that he started sleeping in there right away.”

Among the changes, Welcome Home Angel repainted Shaun’s room and added a dimmer night-light that spells his name, and even though they knew Shaun loved Angry Birds, they decided to only change his bedding to match that theme for now.

“In a couple of year’s he may not like Angry Birds, so they try not to do anything permanent that the child may grow out of,” Clark said.

The other honoree was 11-year-old Hannah, who was born with cerebral palsy and never experienced water pressure from a shower before due to the lack of appropriate space. After Welcome Home Angel reconfigured the bathroom, tearing out a wall to make room for a shower, Clark said Hannah’s mother described her daughter’s joy.

“She said [Hannah] just giggled and loved it,” Clark said. “The little things we all take for granted is such a big deal for someone else, and the parents really appreciate it.”

While tickets to this weekend’s benefit concert are $30 each, passes to the concert and champagne reception are $75 each. For tickets, call the Thalian Box Office at 910-632-2285 or visit www.thalianhall.org

For other volunteer, donation or sponsorship opportunities, contact Michelle Clark at 910-367-9767.

email shannon@luminanews.com


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