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Community helps sick Westerly girl realize dream of a hot tub

Westerly - Nine-year-old Iverson Collins' wish for a hot tub is about to come true.

Iverson, who has muscular dystrophy, loves to be in the water, where her body can be free. She spends a lot of time in the bathtub whenever she visits her grandparents, Frances "Cissy" and Bob Collins, so when it came time to ask for something from the Make A Wish Foundation, a hot tub seemed like a no brainer.

The national wish-granting organization for terminally ill children came through over the summer with an $11,000 hot tub. Now local contractors and vendors are doing their part for Iverson by building an enclosed room and installing the hot tub at the grandparents' home at 2 Pinewoods Court.

The project began Saturday with Dale Tourville of Pawcatuck serving as the general contractor.

"He said, be ready Saturday for a very big surprise. And boy was I," said Cissy Collins, the grandmother. "The trucks just kept on coming."

Tourville told her the hot tub room would be ready in 20 days.

Iverson, who has a twin sister, Rebekah, lives nearby with her father, Jeffrey Collins, but spends a lot of time at her grandparents' home. The family is thrilled she will be able to use the hot tub year round.

"She's a special little girl who brings everybody love," her grandmother said. "I know she's only here for a little while, but we're enjoying every bit of her. She makes everyone laugh."

Wendy Bury of Stonington, a family friend who works with nonprofit groups, is helping with fundraising. She said the project cost is estimated at more than $40,000 and that the goal is to raise $12,000 to $15,000 to pay for materials. The labor is free, she said.

"Once Cissy got in touch with Dale Tourville, he moved mountains and got so many vendors involved," Bury said.

On Saturday morning, the Collins' old deck had been removed and a Make A Wish Banner hung within half an hour, she said.

The following businesses are donating materials to the project: Arnold Lumber, Cherenzia Excavation, Hanley & Williams Lumber Co., Mastro Electric, M.J. Sauchuk Inc., Printing Plus, Ring's End Lumber, The Granite Group, Tourville Construction LLC, United Builders Supply, Westerly and Westerly Paints.

Donations are going into a Westerly Credit Union account in Iverson's name. To donate, send checks to Iverson Collins, c/o Frances Warner Collins, 2 Pinewoods Court, Westerly, RI 02891.

k.florin@theday.com

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