Make-A-Wish Foundation grants Ballard teen’s wish

Fourteen-year-old Louisa from Ballard lined up her cue stick as she prepared to break the triangle of striped and solid balls on her newly felted pool table in her own private billiards room.

Sinking the first shot was only the icing on the cake as she was applauded by family, friends, and even former Seattle Sounders player Taylor Graham. After a year of planning, building and decorating, the Make-A-Wish Foundation finally revealed to Louisa her special wish on March 31st, as they opened the doors to a brightly decorated billiards room of her own.

With freshly painted orange walls and wood paneling floor, Louisa’s new room can be used to hang out, relax and play a few rounds of pool, her favorite pastime.

What used to be her family’s garage was completely torn down and rebuilt to house Louisa’s wish. Now she can throw some darts, bang her drums and play pool on her very own pool table, which was donated by Olhausen Billiards and has her name engraved on the front.

“It’s not like a week of vacation,” Louisa said about her wish. “You can actually just go in and it’s a nice place to hang out. It’s something I can always do or use.”

Louisa, who is battling Acute Myelocytic Leukemia, first found her love of the game when she met her counselor at the Boys and Girls Club at the age of seven or eight.

“The counselor was really good so he just started playing with me and noticed that I was really good, too,” she said. “So he helped me and showed me how to get better and how to hold a stick.”

Since then, she has been playing with her friends and other counselors at the Boys and Girls Club to improve her game. She has even entered in a couple club competitions, placing in the top three.

During the construction, Louisa helped her father with a lot of the tearing down and assembling back up of the garage. She helped put up the dry wall and laid the flooring.

Louisa worked with Dawn Wilkinson, who volunteered from Six Walls Interior Design, to pick the colors and theme she wanted. Both her parents being architects, Louisa has a natural eye to see which colors fit well together to her liking.

“I think this room really does reflect her and her personality,” Wilkinson said. “She understands color and design and has a lot of great ideas…It was just a matter of coming up with the concept; it was her idea with the pool table.”

After the basic construction of the room was done, Louisa was kept away from the garage until the final reveal.

“It was hard not to peak,” Louisa said. “I was so excited.”

Laurel Rech, Louisa’s mother, said they found out a year ago at the hospital that Louisa’s wish would be granted, and the whole process has been really fun since.

“In the beginning, I honestly didn’t know what to expect,” Rech said. “It’s totally different from the treatment experience.”

But she knew pool was Louisa’s passion and Rech has seen her daughter grow a lot throughout the years since she started playing.

“Louisa has really flourished at the Boys and Girls Club,” Rech said. “It definitely allowed her to come out of her shell a little bit. I think it’s just something that you can use to meet other people and just hang out and be a kid.”

Now that the project is complete, Rech said she notices things about the community that she didn’t see before and is grateful for everything that has been done for Louisa.

“Ballard as a community has very strong local ties,” she said. “The fact that they are doing something so close to home, that says a lot about the people who live here.”

Fourteen-year-old Louisa from Ballard lined up her cue stick as she prepared to break the triangle of striped and solid balls on her newly felted pool table in her own private billiards room.

Sinking the first shot was only the icing on the cake as she was applauded by family, friends, and even former Seattle Sounders player Taylor Graham. After a year of planning, building and decorating, the Make-A-Wish Foundation finally revealed to Louisa her special wish on March 31st, as they opened the doors to a brightly decorated billiards room of her own.

With freshly painted orange walls and wood paneling floor, Louisa’s new room can be used to hang out, relax and play a few rounds of pool, her favorite pastime.

What used to be her family’s garage was completely torn down and rebuilt to house Louisa’s wish. Now she can throw some darts, bang her drums and play pool on her very own pool table, which was donated by Olhausen Billiards and has her name engraved on the front.

“It’s not like a week of vacation,” Louisa said about her wish. “You can actually just go in and it’s a nice place to hang out. It’s something I can always do or use.”

Louisa, who is battling Acute Myelocytic Leukemia, first found her love of the game when she met her counselor at the Boys and Girls Club at the age of seven or eight.

“The counselor was really good so he just started playing with me and noticed that I was really good, too,” she said. “So he helped me and showed me how to get better and how to hold a stick.”

Since then, she has been playing with her friends and other counselors at the Boys and Girls Club to improve her game. She has even entered in a couple club competitions, placing in the top three.

During the construction, Louisa helped her father with a lot of the tearing down and assembling back up of the garage. She helped put up the dry wall and laid the flooring.

Louisa worked with Dawn Wilkinson, who volunteered from Six Walls Interior Design, to pick the colors and theme she wanted. Both her parents being architects, Louisa has a natural eye to see which colors fit well together to her liking.

“I think this room really does reflect her and her personality,” Wilkinson said. “She understands color and design and has a lot of great ideas…It was just a matter of coming up with the concept; it was her idea with the pool table.”

After the basic construction of the room was done, Louisa was kept away from the garage until the final reveal.

“It was hard not to peak,” Louisa said. “I was so excited.”

Laurel Rech, Louisa’s mother, said they found out a year ago at the hospital that Louisa’s wish would be granted, and the whole process has been really fun since.

“In the beginning, I honestly didn’t know what to expect,” Rech said. “It’s totally different from the treatment experience.”

But she knew pool was Louisa’s passion and Rech has seen her daughter grow a lot throughout the years since she started playing.

“Louisa has really flourished at the Boys and Girls Club,” Rech said. “It definitely allowed her to come out of her shell a little bit. I think it’s just something that you can use to meet other people and just hang out and be a kid.”

Now that the project is complete, Rech said she notices things about the community that she didn’t see before and is grateful for everything that has been done for Louisa.

“Ballard as a community has very strong local ties,” she said. “The fact that they are doing something so close to home, that says a lot about the people who live here.”

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