Emma Clare Gunnoe spent most of the past three years sleeping in the living room.
The 8-year-old couldnt bear to leave her mothers side as she battled breast cancer.
Joy Diane Elrod Gunnoe died just a week after her little girls birthday in March.
Friday night, United in Pink volunteers hung a photo of Joy, pregnant with Emma, as the finishing touch of Emma Clares brand new bedroom.
Minutes later, she and her dad got their first look at the pristine pink walls, bright white trim, colorful bed linens and a chandelier of pink drop jewels.
It wasnt me, baby. It wasnt me, Dion Gunnoe said as his little girl ran into his arms and held on tight.
Her tears stained his shirt.
Shes been holding in her emotions since her mothers death.
She hides her crying, so I dont know when she does it, he said.
He tried to draw her out a little as cameras followed her every move.
This is amazing, he said. Youve got some room in here now, and its pink.
Volunteers from the service organization that helps cancer patients and their families cope had heard Emma Clare wanted a place big enough for overnight company.
An anonymous donor paid $5,000 for her new bedroom furnishings, complete with a slide-out trundle bed.
Her father had just returned home from duty at Fort Stewart and was looking forward to the makeover being a new start.
I hope that it will help her heal a little bit and open up, when shes ready to talk about things and how shes feeling, Gunnoe said. Shes like a rock. She wont talk.
Although she mostly shied away from the strangers in her house, Emma Clare was happy to see the ladies in their pink T-shirts.
Shes built relationships with them at United in Pinks summer camp and during their visits to help with housework or transportation when her mom was sick.
Executive Director Laura Paxton pointed out the monogram painted on a chevron canvas over her bed.
Your mommy always monogrammed everything for you, Paxton told Emma Clare. When I look at that picture, I think of that wonderful person watching over you every day... so thats going to bring happy thoughts for you.
The crew also spruced up the Gunnoes deck with a new rug and rearranged the den into a cozy composition.
Schoolteacher Stan Haley, who painted Emma Clares bedroom, also has been touched by cancer in the lives of his grandmother, father and wife.
He wanted to make a difference in the Gunnoes life, although he hadnt even met them.
I really hope she appreciates it and knows that her mom, even though in heaven know, shes seeing her pretty room, Haley said.
Emma Clares devotion to her dying mother touched many.
She was the best caregiver Ive ever met, Paxton said. Ive never seen a young lady be able to give such compassionate care, and be so grown up and handle such a turmoiled time of life with such grace. It was amazing.
United in Pink volunteer Dodie Cantrell-Bickley, whose husband, Randy, repaired the bedroom ceiling, summed up the motivation for the project:
It is time for her to be a little girl again.
To contact Liz Fabian, call 744-4303.