Knoxville boy with Duchenne muscular dystrophy gets room makeover

Local News

Peyton Hickman, a 9-year-old with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, got the surprise of his life when a non-profit group transformed what was once a family room into a brand new bedroom just for him.

“It was awesome,” Peyton said.

Each year, the Kingdom Design Ministries selects a handful of children going through challenging times and gives them a special room makeover to make their lives a little easier. 

“When he saw it, he just sobbed,” Christy Hickman, Peyton’s mom, said. “It was very emotional.”

Duchenne muscular dystrophy is a genetic disorder that progressively degenerates his muscles and limits his mobility. Peyton’s condition made it difficult for him to access his previous bedroom. 

“He had to go up the steps and we had to physically carry him up there to get him to his room,” Eric Hickman, Peyton’s dad, said.

Now, thanks to help from Kingdom Design Ministries, Peyton has regained his independence. He is now able to get to and from his new handicap-accessible bedroom all by himself. To top it off, he even gets his own customized bathroom.

“It’s been life-changing for him to be able to have access to your room without help,” Eric Hickman said. “To be able to use the restroom and all of those facilities without help. It’s been really amazing.”

Peyton’s favorite part about his new room is his bed, low enough to the ground for him to get in and out, with plenty of space to stretch out and relax. 

The room makeover looks less like a bedroom and more like a police headquarters, a theme inspired by Peyton’s dream of someday becoming a police officer.

“I want to be a policeman when I grow up,” Peyton said, “because I want to help people.”

Peyton is all smiles, with a personalized room to meet his medical needs and his loving family right there by his side.

“We’re just very thankful,” Christy Hickman said. 

Kingdom Design Ministries is holding an upcoming fundraiser to help give more children, like Peyton, new rooms. It’s a local Dancing with the Stars even scheduled for Oct. 16 at the Clayton Center for the Arts in Maryville,with dances starting at 7 p.m.

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