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Forsyth County News

Want to help?

• The Designing Dreams Foundation will hold its annual fundraiser reception from 7 to 9 p.m. Sept. 27 at RBM North-Atlanta Mercedes-Benz dealership, 345 McFarland Pkwy. The event is free to attend and will include refreshments, a silent auction and raffles.

• Businesses wishing to contribute to the room makeover project should e-mail More information can be found at

A Cumming interior design firm has announced a Ball Ground woman will receive a room makeover.

Allison Havill Todd Interiors for the past three years has presented its Designing Dreams room makeover for a family or charitable group in need.

Todd said a committee which selects the winner, has chosen Michele Williams as the fourth recipient.

Williams was nominated for the room makeover, which is valued at about $20,000, by her longtime friend, Sue Munsen.

In her nomination letter, Munsen wrote of Williams: “I have never met a more selfless individual.”

Williams has been active in pet rescue for many years, having worked with her sister, Cheryl Flanagan, to begin and later serve as a treasurer of Save the Horses, a nonprofit that rescues horses in need.

Williams is also the current president of Canine Adoption Network, a dog rescue group, and with her sister, created an annual event called Animal Rescue Fair to help pet groups across north Georgia.

Williams faced a personal tragedy earlier this year when her husband, Bernie, passed away as a result of complications from an automobile accident in December 2010.

After the accident, he spent three months at North Fulton Hospital in a medically-induced coma. He remained in the hospital until April 2011, when he was discharged and sent home with a feeding tube due to lack of insurance coverage.

At that time, Michele Williams had to stop work as a medical transcriptionist to care for him at home.

He was later able to receive Medicare and spent many more months in and out of hospital care before his passing.

Wrote Munsen in her nomination letter: “Michele lost not only her husband but their combined incomes and now faces a staggering amount of bills.”

Todd said the selection committee was pleased to select Williams for the award.

“The selection committee agreed that this is certainly someone who didn’t create their circumstances,” she said. “This is something that could happen to anybody … and when you see this, you go, ‘Wow, her whole life was completely turned upside down.’”

Todd said the improvements to William’s 100-year-old farmhouse will include a couple of spaces.

“We’re going to completely transform her living room and then also turn an adjacent room into a home office for her,” she said, noting that Williams is trying to get back into home medical transcription work.

Williams said she was “overwhelmed, shocked and very surprised” when she learned she had been chosen for the project.

“My friend Sue asked if it would be OK [to nominate me], and I just never thought it would happen,” she said. “So it was very overwhelming and very emotional.”

Williams said she’s always been on the other end of giving, so this is a big chance for her.

“My family and I, you know, I grew up as a giver,” she said. “I volunteer and my parents volunteer, my sister volunteers, you know, we all give. We help our neighbors and stuff, and you never expect it to happen to you.”

Todd said work on the project will begin later this month, with an anticipated completion date before Thanksgiving.

She said while she’s had many businesses offer products and services, there is always room for more assistance.

“I’m always overwhelmed by the support of the local business community,” she said. “Local business support is always welcome … for as little as $25 someone can be listed as a sponsor, so it’s not a big commitment and every little bit really helps.”

The public can also help by attending the Designing Dreams reception fundraiser next month.

The event, which this year will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. Sept. 27 at the RBM North-Atlanta Mercedes-Benz dealership on McFarland Parkway, is free to attend but includes a silent auction and raffles.

“It’s complimentary,” Todd said. “But there’ll be dozens of items for silent auction, from small things to large things, and we’re offering raffling tickets for someone to win a trip to Costa Rica.”

Todd said she’s hoping for big crowds at the reception.

“This fundraiser is our big one of the year,” she said. “We really count on that.”