The Sunday before the makeover, Team Make a Difference volunteers and Jacob’s family and friends met at The Great Escape Room in Chicago and fulfilled Jacob’s dream.
Crowther said she called the business to inquire about a couple of passes, and the owner covered the cost of the event.
During the week of the makeover, Jacob underwent treatment, and then the family went to Grizzly Jack’s in Utica as part of the package from Team Make a Difference.
The team transformed one of the two upstairs bedrooms into a bedroom for Angel’s daughter, Noel, and the other room into a hideaway of secret passages for Jacob. A crew also finished a bonus room over the garage for renters.
Jacob received dressers, an adjustable bed, a new TV and gaming system, along with a desk and computer for studying. Team Make a Difference created a camping room in an attic space through the closet and painted a night sky, then filled it with sleeping bags and pillows.
The team created a built-in nook to cover an open wall to hold a TV and games underneath. It built a door where Jacob found a hanging hammock with puzzles and books.
The team also used another attic space to make a game room with tables, benches and board games. The door acts as a shelf, so when all doors are shut, no one would know any of the secret passages exist.
The makeover cost about $15,000, Crowther said. The money used in the makeover comes from the nonprofit's main fundraiser in April, as well as donations from businesses and individual sponsors.
“This is awesome. I thought it would be something minor, like a few pictures on the wall. I’m never going to see him again,” said Jacob’s father, Mark Zickefoose.
After the reveal and many pictures, Jacob said, “I’m sweating from smiling so much. I’m going to go to my room and look at everything again and open everything.”