COLUMBIA — Sometimes, a change of scenery can ease the feelings of fear and worry.
For MU Children's Hospital patients, attending the "Glamour-azzi" spa day Wednesday night let them forget about tests and medicine and allowed them to be kids again, with no worries at all.
"Unfortunately, these kids have spent too much time at the hospital," said Michelle Kemp, director of special events for the Children's Miracle Network and parent of two daughters with cystic fibrosis.
"This is just a time for them to have fun," she said. "They do entirely too many grown up things."
Wednesday night, 21 excited parents brought their sons and daughters to the Children's Hospital's 3rd Annual "Glamour-azzi" Spa Event where stylists from The Strand Salon and Spa did manicures, pedicures, make-up, curls and hair cuts for patients at the MU Children's Hospital.
Competitive cheerleader Margaret Romph was among them. She has lived every 8-year-old's dream. At only 5 years old, she won nationals in her cheerleading competition. During the last two years, she's met the Jonas Brothers, Jordin Sparks and Demi Lovato. In a little over a week, she'll be 9 and she's hoping that she'll get a chance to meet Justin Bieber.
"She really wants to see Justin Bieber for her birthday. That or a puppy," said her mother, Sherline Romph.
On Jan. 2, 2009, Margaret was believed to be dead at the scene of a car accident but was later revived and put on a ventilator, paralyzed from the neck down.
She was airlifted to Children's Hospital and spent the next 45 days having operations and treatment for her paralysis. She has since been to several hospitals along the East Coast to visit spinal cord specialists.
It took 11 months before she spoke again. She now communicates through a tracheostomy tube and sassy facial expressions, and life is a little different.
With four kids — three cheerleaders and one baseball player — Romph and her husband, Eric, had their hands full on a regular basis. From practice to tournaments to games, they were constantly on the go. After Margaret's accident, the Romphs' travels were instead from hospitals to specialists, experts to surgeons.
But her parents make sure things are as normal as they can be for Margaret. She goes down slides, swims at the pool and can still do her cheer routine.
"If it's possible to do it, we're going to do it somehow, someway," Romph said.
At the spa party, Margaret specifically requested she have her toenails painted four different colors, some blue eyeshadow applied and her hair done.
As astylist perfected a bright purple cheerleading bow atop Margaret's head, full of tightly spun pin curls and held a mirror up so Margaret could see, the girl's face lit up with joy.
"Her personality and attitude towards this is very amazing," Romph said. "She's always happy."
Supervising editor is Celia Darrough.