A charity aimed at bedroom renovations for women cancer survivors is taking their mission on the road to Anamosa and is looking for local help to support the project

Lisa Tan is the founder of My Happy Place, founded in 2012 to help children “affected by illness, disease, or emotional distress” by completing a makeover of their bedroom, before expanding to help women diagnosed with cancer with the creation of My Happy Haven in 2016. Being able to assist both children and women was something Tan said was on her mind way back when she first started the My Happy Place non-profit.

“For these women who are dealing with a very scary diagnosis, what better gift can we give [them] than a haven?” Tan said.

The selection of Brenda Ketelsen of Anamosa for their next project is unique in a couple of ways. The group usually does projects within 30 miles of where their chapters are based, but the group occasionally does “on the road” projects, like this as they look to expand the reach of their non-profit.

“We just hope that…somebody’s going to hear about it in that area, and they’re going to want to start one, and then we can help more women, and we can also enable people like myself and [designer] Chris [Anderson] and her daughters to be able to give this wonderful gift to another woman,” Tan said.

Ketelsen herself had previously looked into starting a chapter in the Anamosa area.

Throughout the process, “the woman is always involved,” according to Tan, leading to a personalized room designed with the subject in mind.

The design for the room, while always special, has an extra personal connection. Chris Anderson, Ketelsen’s sister, has been working with the non-profit designing rooms for the past five or six years but said she “never thought she’d be doing it for a family member.” When she approached Tan about the possibility of doing a room for her sister who had been diagnosed with cancer, Tan jumped at the idea.

“This one’s going to be fun because it’s going to be my sister, sister-in-law and my brother, and my husband and my daughter that will do this room. So, it’s all family,” Anderson said.

According to Anderson, another aspect that will make this particular makeover unique is the fact that family members will be so involved in the process.

“It’ll be the first time My Happy Haven’s ever done that,” she said.

Like Tan, Anderson is hoping that the project can spur the creation of Anamosa’s own chapter of the organization.

With on the road rooms, all the fundraising must come from a local source—not money allocated for established chapters, and the group, as of March 8, is still looking to raises $2,000 of the $3,000 needed for the April 10 renovation.

Donations can be made through the site at the Mason City page ahead of the April 10 room redecoration. You can learn more about Ketelsen and her cancer journey as she shared her story with the group via their Facebook page at My Happy Haven — North Iowa.

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