ALPHARETTA, Ga. -- Mom of three Terri Wylie grinned and held back tears as interior design guru Allison Havill Todd recounted the mantra of Wylie’s late husband, Kevin: “Give a smile, get a smile.”
Wylie, the winner of this year’s Designing Dreams charitable room makeover, also appeared to live by that mantra during the nonprofit’s annual reception Sept. 12 at RBM of Atlanta - North on McFarland Parkway.
Wylie graciously hugged friends and family, and chatted and laughed with many of the approximately 75 guests throughout the evening. Attendants milled through the Mercedes-Benz showroom, bidding on silent auction items and donning light-up plastic neon smiley face rings as a tribute to Kevin.
Laury Beesley, president and founder of support group Widows GPS, nominated Wylie for the room makeover.
“Of all the people I have helped, this woman is the brightest and shiniest. She’s just a ray of sunshine,” Beesley said. “I get goose bumps every time I’m around her. She’s a trooper, but she’s in pain and I want to be there for her.”
Terri Wylie was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis around 2008. Kevin Wylie, a stay-at-home-dad and an active, well-liked area volunteer, became Terri’s caretaker while she was bedridden with the disease. Kevin died in October 2012.
“A lot of people knew what he did in the community,” Wylie said. “He’s in heaven smiling right now.”
Terri said she was amazed when she found out she’d won the makeover.
“I don’t win things,” Wylie said.
But Wylie’s 17-year-old daughter, Erin, a senior at Milton High School, said her mom earned it.
“She takes care of us,” Erin said. “She deserves to have something nice.”
Todd, the president of Cumming, Ga.-based Allison Havill Todd Interiors, started the nonprofit Designing Dreams to provide comfort and healing to an individual or family in an emotional or physical crisis. Her vision for Wylie’s new master bathroom entails a “peaceful, calming, spa-like” space with good storage. She also hopes funds will allow for a walk-in tub, and maybe even a new master bedroom. The makeover should be completed in early November.
Wylie, who used a cane for support at the reception, looks forward to a more accessible bathroom.
“I feel really blessed,” she said.