Wish granted - young cancer survivor gets a jungle-theme bedroom makeover

The perfect place for some rest and recuperation, this new 'jungle oasis' bedroom scheme is a roaring success

jungle theme bedroom makeover with jungle wallpaper and storage furniture
(Image credit: Samantha Baldwin / Make-A-Wish UK)

We all love a heart-warming story and so when we heard that one young cancer survivor got his wish with a jungle-themed bedroom makeover, we couldn't wait to show you. Many of us long for a room to retreat to – a place we can relax, with decor that calls to us, but for this young boy, having a space filled with the perfect boy's bedroom ideas in which to recuperate was of the utmost importance.

Nine-year-old cancer patient Joshua had had a difficult year, so when Make-A-Wish UK stepped in to grant his dream of a jungle-inspired bedroom, it was a special time for both him and his family. 

Mum, Samantha Baldwin, remembers the moment she heard about Joshua's diagnosis. 'My life was changed forever in 2006, when my own mum tragically died of leukaemia,' she says. 'So when I heard Joshua’s diagnosis back in August 2021,  I felt like my world had fallen apart. All I could think about was my mum and to hear that my baby had the exact same disease – it was devastating.’ 

Aged just seven at the time, Joshua and his family were immediately launched into a world of hospital appointments, treatments and medical procedures, with Joshua missing months of school.

Jungle-theme bedroom makeover

Isolated from his friends, Joshua found comfort in his impressive collection of teddy bears. ‘He loves teddies – he's always been a massive teddy fan,’ says Samantha. 

‘Whenever Joshua had to have something nasty done to him, like chemotherapy or a blood test, we would take him to the shop at Great Ormond Street and buy him a teddy. It started with cats and dogs, and then he got an elephant, and then a monkey and then he said he was going to start collecting zoo animals. It became his thing. On the day he went in for surgery, he picked a huge stuffed elephant – it was bigger than him!’

With zoo animals becoming Joshua’s new obsession, his growing collection helped him through treatment. And when Joshua was invited to apply for a wish from children’s charity Make-A-Wish UK, a jungle oasis in his own home was the obvious choice.

Interior design influencer Nicole of Elocin Home was brought on board to help with the bedroom makeover and come up with some budget children's room design ideas. 'When Make-A-Wish UK contacted me about Joshua whose wish it was to have a jungle-themed bedroom, I jumped at the chance. I couldn't wait to be able to make this happen for him,’ she says. 


before shot of bedroom

(Image credit: Samantha Baldwin / Make-A-Wish UK)

Grey walls and carpet made for an uninspiring bedroom, so it was paramount to bring in colour and all of the jungle animals that Joshua had grown to love. For days, Joshua watched as boxes of jungle-themed decor and furniture flooded the family' living room. 

before picture of bedroom with tv on wall and unmade bed

(Image credit: Samantha Baldwin / Make-A-Wish UK)

The shutters and carpet were to stay, but the rest of the room was about to undergo a big transformation. The refurbishment took two days, with decor and furniture donated by companies such as Lick, WallpaperMural, and more.

Joshua was hugely excited as he watched his jungle-themed room come together. ‘Because he has autism, Joshua expresses things in different ways, so he kept repeating himself, asking "when it would be done",’ laughs Samantha.


jungle theme bedroom makeover with jungle wallpaper and storage furniture

(Image credit: Samantha Baldwin / Make-A-Wish UK)

After two days of hard work, Joshua's new jungle-themed paradise was complete, with a tropical mural, a zebra-style rug and more than one stuffed zoo animal! 

For Joshua and his family, the new-look bedroom has provided a sense of normality, giving him his own space to relax, play and have time to himself after spending much of his childhood in hospital.  

‘His wish has been a lovely thing for him and for us as a family,’ says Samantha. ‘Whenever Joshua's been ill, he’s had to sleep in my room. So for him to have his own bedroom, it gives him his independence back.’

kids bedroom with jungle theme

(Image credit: Samantha Baldwin / Make-A-Wish UK)

Animals are everywhere in the new bedroom, from large stuffed varieties on the floor, to a hanging monkey and even a giraffe's head on the wall.

‘After he was shown his room, I saw him just sat on his bed, recalls Samantha. 'He was crying and getting really choked up. He said, "I think it’s so amazing, it’s all so lovely". He was crying out of happiness.' 

If you'd like to donate to Make-A-Wish UK and help bring more children's wishes to life, visit the website here.

‘With everything that he’s gone through in the past year, his childhood has been taken away from him,' she continues. 'That’s why we’re so blown away with everything that Make-A-Wish UK has done. His wish has been a massive help in helping him feel like a happy and carefree child again.’ 

Laurie Davidson

Laurie Davidson is a professional stylist, writer and content creator, who lives and breathes interiors. Having worked for some of the UK’s leading interior magazines, styled homes up and down the country and produced sets for TV shows, adverts and top brands, it’s safe to say Laurie has had a pretty exciting career. Find her on Instagram at @lifeofaninteriorstylist or over at lauriedavidson.co.uk