Make-A-Wish: Rose, 4, has dream come true and visits the sea turtles with her twin

Rose and Nina watch Schoona the sea turtle at the Florida and the Gumbo Limbo Nature Centre. (Submitted/Make-A-Wish British Columbia and Yukon)Rose and Nina watch Schoona the sea turtle at the Florida and the Gumbo Limbo Nature Centre. (Submitted/Make-A-Wish British Columbia and Yukon)
Rose and Nina at the Florida and the Gumbo Limbo Nature Centre. (Submitted/Make-A-Wish British Columbia and Yukon)Rose and Nina at the Florida and the Gumbo Limbo Nature Centre. (Submitted/Make-A-Wish British Columbia and Yukon)

This month, Black Press Media has teamed up with Make-A-Wish and BraveFace to help grant wishes, one mask purchase at a time. Here’s one wish that was granted through the Make-A-Wish B.C. and Yukon chapter…

“I wish to go see the turtles” – August 2019

In the summer of 2019, four-year-old Rose had a longtime wish come true and she got to share it with her twin sister.

She and her twin sister Nina are alike in so many ways, save a small birthmark on Rose’s chin and Nina being a little bit taller. By their parent’s accounts, they’re both quite shy. Both kids love to dance, both love to ski and both love to ride bikes. They are “equally persistent and feisty,” as their mother, Ginny, suggests.

But there is one major difference between them: Rose has had to endure a battle with leukemia. Her sister, Nina, is her constant supporter and was by her side every day as Rose faced her critical illness.

“Rose caught a cough that Nina didn’t have,” said Ginny, noting that it was unusual for one twin to catch something that the other did not. “Rose started sleeping more, and she was pale.”

That was all the evidence Rose’s parents needed to go see a doctor and sadly, she was diagnosed with leukemia when she was 22 months old.

“It was terrifying,” said Ginny. Rose’s dad, Jeremy, said that Rose had to be airlifted from their hometown to Vancouver, where there was an initial 10-day stay in BC Children’s Hospital followed by a further six months of treatments.

“As a parent,” said Ginny, “You’re just coping, making sure the [kids] don’t get upset or alarmed by what’s happening through it all.”

Jeremy said the whole family is still dealing with the trauma of it all. Rose’s twin was also affected by the experience; with so much focus on Rose for so long, it was, at times hard on Nina, who her parents felt took on a lot of the stress for her sister.

“Nina is more sensitive than Rose,” according to Ginny and Jeremy said.

At the end of all the treatments and hospital stays, and time away from home, there came a period of recovery. Then finally, Rose was truly ready and able to have her wish granted by Make-A-Wish.

“Rose seems to light up around animals,” said Ginny. Jeremy says they’ve watched Finding Nemo dozens of times. “We all watch Blue Planet as a family,” Ginny also noted, adding that when they lived in Vancouver for treatments, the family made regular trips to the Vancouver Aquarium. Rose seemed particularly interested in the shark tank, where one of the aquarium’s most famous long-time residents also lives: a sea turtle named Schoona. Eventually, Rose made a wish to release baby sea turtles.

The family travelled to Florida and the Gumbo Limbo Nature Centre to make Rose’s wish come true. While they were there, it wasn’t only baby turtles that were hatched. Ginny and Jeremy watched their own daughters come out of their shells a bit, too.

“Where normally they are so shy, they sat right upfront during the education sessions at Gumbo Limbo,” explained Ginny. “They answered questions and were so engaged. It was special to see that.”

Rose got to take part in a public sea turtle release as well as a special, private release with her sister and parents on a warm Florida night. There, on the beach, the family watched as tiny sea turtles scooted their way across the sand. The experience brought a new life in the ocean for the turtles and granted a wish for Rose.

Jeremy and Ginny feel as though through the trip they’re able to close a chapter on the whole experience with cancer.

They say that a lot of Rose’s sentences start with “in Florida…” as she looks back on her wish experience of releasing baby sea turtles. It’s a happier moment for the family to remember than any time spent at the hospital.


Critically ill kids put on a Brave Face every day. Now you can, too, in support of Make-A-Wish.

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions, and we invite you to join us in helping children’s wishes come true. Click here to buy your masks today!

By purchasing a pack of three masks designed and manufactured right here in British Columbia for children, youth and adults, you’ll be supporting the Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.

BraveFaceMake-A-Wish

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Interior Health reported 79 new cases of COVID-19 and two new death in the region Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. (Ben Hohenstatt/Juneau Empire)
79 new COVID-19 cases, two deaths reported in Interior Health

Both of Friday’s deaths were both recorded at long-term care homes

Sanders was dressed for the cold weather in Penticton Friday, as he made time to check out one of the city’s iconic landmarks. (Parkers Chrysler / Facebook)
U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders spotted in Penticton

Sanders seems to have developed a taste for local craft beer

Sunnybank in Oliver. (Google Maps)
Sunnybank long-term care in Oliver reports third COVID-19 death

The facility currently has an outbreak with 35 cases attached to it

Send your letter to the editor via email to editor@pentictonwesternnews.com. Please include your first and last name, address, and phone number. (File photo)
LETTER: ‘Park your anger at the door,’ when it comes to supportive housing

Stable housing is needed for all in the community, writes Western News reader

(Pixabay photo)
Black Press Weekly Roundup: Top headlines of the week

In case you missed it, here’s what made waves throughout the week

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam speaks during a daily briefing in Ottawa. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld)
31 cases of COVID-19 variants detected in Canada: Health officials

Dr. Theresa Tam made announces 13 more variant COVID-19 cases in Canada

Administrative headquarters for the Regional District of Central Okanagan in Kelowna. (File photo)
Tempers fly over a pricey picnic shelter in the North Westside

Lack of detail on $121,000 shelter expenditure further incites self-govenance wishes

Big White Village on Dec. 16. (Big White photo)
11 more COVID-19 cases linked to Big White cluster

Interior Health provided an update on the cluster on Friday

Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops. (Dave Eagles/Kamloops This Week file photo)
COVID-19 outbreak declared at Kamloops’ Royal Inland Hospital surgical unit

Despite 6 South being a surgical unit, RIH said surgeries are continuing at the hospital

Send your letter to the editor via email to news@summerlandreview.com. Please included your first and last name, address, and phone number.
LETTER: Historic poem is appropriate for new U.S. president

In 1941, Roosevelt made reference to poem by Longfellow

Daily COVID-19 cases reported to each B.C. health region, to Jan. 20, 2021. Island Health in blue, Northern Health green, Interior Health orange, Vancouver Coastal in red and Fraser Health in purple. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate stays stable with 508 cases Friday

Vaccine delivered to more than 110,000 high-risk people

(Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
‘It’s incredibly upsetting’: Kelowna health care worker demands WestJet ticket refund

Kelowna woman has been waiting almost a year for a refund on her Kelowna to Edmonton flight

The District of Saanich’s communications team decided to take part in a viral trend on Thursday and photoshopped U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders into a staff meeting photo. (District of Saanich/Twitter)
Bernie Sanders makes guest appearance municipal staff meeting in B.C.

Vancouver Island firefighters jump on viral trend of photoshopped U.S. senator

Most Read