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Iowa girl battling cancer receives bedroom makeover

11-year-old Harper Stribe was diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcoma in 2017.

POLK CITY, Iowa — 11-year-old Harper Stribe is no stranger to hard battles. In 2017, she was diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcoma, a rare cancer that grew in her cheek. In May 2018, she was declared cancer-free — but that wasn't the end of the story.

"You start to think you're safe, and unfortunately at that four and a half year scan, they did find something back in that same spot in her cheek," said Nicole Stribe, Harper's mother.

Following that second diagnosis, Harper underwent a 14-hour surgery to remove the tumor, as wells months of chemotherapy. And it was during that time that the Stribe family was contacted by nonprofit My Happy Place Des Moines, who offered to give Harper's bedroom the makeover of her dreams.

"This little girl needed a happy place. She is you know going into her teen years. Having everybody knows that, when you're healing. Mental is a big part of that," said Sharon Keeling, Director of My Happy Place Des Moines.

The My Happy Place team put the finishing touches on Harper's dream room on May 20 while the Stribes stayed in a hotel nearby. Then on Sunday, May 21, friends and family gathered for the big reveal of her brand-new bedroom, based on a Pinterest board that Harper shared with the design team.

"It was just so, so fulfilling to see her so happy and know we accomplished what we set out to do," Keeling said.

While Harper's road to recovery has been long, her family is grateful for the many hands who've been with them on their journey.

"When you have a child that goes through something like this, you see how much support you have, from your family, from your friends," Stribe said.

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