Keller Citizen

Sunshine Spaces gives kids battling illnesses a reason to smile

Volunteers who helped with the three room makeovers at the Koiner home pose for a group photo.
Volunteers who helped with the three room makeovers at the Koiner home pose for a group photo. Photo courtesy of

When Logan Koiner saw his new Lego room, he smiled from ear to ear.

The 8-year-old student at Kay Granger Elementary hasn’t had a lot of reasons to smile lately.

Diagnosed with a rare form of Ewing’s Sarcoma just before the school year began, Logan’s had several surgeries, many rounds of chemotherapy and radiation and spent much of the Christmas holiday hospitalized at M.D. Anderson in Houston.

Mom Hilary Koiner said Logan is “one tough little bugger,” not complaining while going through an arduous season of setbacks and treatments.

Enter Sunshine Spaces, a Keller charity started by Erica Jones and her husband Joshua Jones. The organization’s mission is to bring sunshine into the lives of children fighting lengthy illnesses and their families. They give the child and any siblings the rooms of their dreams by getting to know the kids and their families.

At the Koiner house, Logan told them that one of his favorite things to do was play with Legos, so he got a room with shelves that looked like giant Legos, a big work area with strategically located bins full of the tiny, colorful blocks and a loft. Braedon, his 12-year-old brother, is a big Ranger’s baseball fan and got a room with a giant picture of the Ballpark in Arlington, storage cabinets that look like lockers and a wall painted to look like the red brick wall at the stadium.

Dozens of volunteers worked at the home Feb. 28 and March 1 to make over the boys room, and they also put in a new media room for the whole family to enjoy. McDonnell Hardware and Feed donated lumber. Kelly Moore Paints, Platinum Painting and A Work of Art contributed paint, manpower and artistic skills. The Fort Worth Junior Chamber of Commerce provided volunteers and funding.

The family went away to visit grandparents for the weekend and were met at Pickles Barbecue in Watauga, another Sunshine Spaces sponsor who created a special sandwich called “the Logan,” by a Keller Police escort.

Officer Stephen Grossman and Sgt. Jared Lemoine accompanied the family, and Logan got to ride in one of the KPD Tahoes and operate the lights and sirens. Once home, the family was met by a welcoming party of about 50 friends and volunteers.

Hilary and husband Michael Koiner were overwhelmed by the outpouring of support.

“We’re blessed with a lot of great friends,” Hilary said.

Logan’s favorite part of his new room is the loft, decorated with his favorite stuffed animals. Braedon pronounced his baseball room “awesome” and “cool.”

Hilary, a science teacher at Chisholm Trail Intermediate School in the Keller district, said the new media room was “too good for the guinea pig” that lived in the room before its transformation.

Erica Jones started Sunshine Spaces to teach her blended family of five kids ways to make a difference in the lives of others. Even young children can load books on a shelf or put away toys, Jones said.

The Koiners are the third family the charity has assisted since it started in December of 2013. To learn more about Sunshine Spaces, nominate a child, donate or volunteer, visit sunshinespaces.org.

As they visited with work crews, neighbors and family friends on a drizzly Sunday afternoon, the Koiners found lots of reasons to smile.

Jones said, “When we leave a home, we hope the family will feel a little less alone and know that the community genuinely cares about them and that it brings them a little sunshine to get them through the rainy days.”

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