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

Toronto-based director Michelle Latimer was recently scrutinized after years of claiming she was of Algonquin and Metis descent. (CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young)
Haida activist calls for hefty fines, jail time against those who claim to be Indigenous

Filmmaker Tamara Bell proposing the Indigenous Identity Act – to dissuade ‘Indigenous identity theft’

Prince Rupert lawyer, Donald A. Silversides has been appointed to the BC Liberals Election Organizing Committee, announced the party on Jan 21. (Contributed photo)
Don Silversides appointed to BC Liberal election organizing committee

Prince Rupert lawyer is the current BC Liberals acting president

Brett Alexander Jones is wanted on several warrants province-wide, in connection with multiple charges. Jan. 21, 2021. Kitimat RCMP photo
Kitimat RCMP searching for man wanted on several warrants province-wide

Jones is described as a five-foot 10-inches Caucasian man, with blond hair and blue eyes.

Rose Sawka, a 91-year old Acropolis Manor resident received her COVID-19 vaccination on Jan. 20, one day after an outbreak was declared at the long-term care facility. Her son Terry Sawka visited with her through the window, like she is seen in an Oct. 2020 photo. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
Acropolis Manor COVID-19 cases jump to 20 confirmed

Prince Rupert long term care facility received vaccinations

Illicit drug use has spread in the Northern Health region and overdose emergency calls increased in Prince Rupert by 29.5 per cent from 2019 to 2020. (Photo:THE NEWS/files)
Overdose emergency calls in Prince Rupert spikes by 43.6 % in five years

Northern Health issues illicit drug use warnings

Businesses continue to struggle under COVID-19 restrictions as the pandemic reaches the one-year mark. (B.C. government)
Another 564 COVID-19 cases, mass vaccine plan coming Friday

15 more deaths, community cluster declared in Williams Lake

Premier John Horgan leaves the podium following his first press conference of the year as he comments on various questions from the media in the Press Gallery at B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Monday, January 13, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Interprovincial travel restrictions a no-go, Horgan says after reviewing legal options

The B.C. NDP government sought legal advice as concerns of travel continue

Gem Lake Top, at Big White Ski Resort, seen at Jan. 8. (Big White Ski Resort)
Big White cancels $7.3M in lift tickets, accommodations due to COVID-19 orders

Since November, the ski resort has been forced to make several changes

Jan. 21 marks the 21st day of the 21st year of the 21st century, according to some. (Black Press Media file photo)
The 21st day of the 21st year of the 21st century is upon us

Milestone won’t be back for another 100 years

Darlene Curylo scratched a $3M ticket, BCLC’s largest ever scratch and win prize. (BCLC)
Kelowna woman in shock after winning BCLC’s largest-ever instant-ticket prize

Darlene Curylo couldn’t believe her eyes when she saw the amount of money she’d won from a scratch ticket

While each person has different reasons for becoming homeless, a UBCO study shows they learn through their interactions with different services to perform ‘as homeless’ based on the expectations of service providers. (Contributed)
Kelowna homeless forced to ‘perform’ for resources, says UBCO study

One participant in the study said ‘It is about looking homeless, but not too homeless’

Mowi Canada West’s Sheep Pass salmon farm, the company’s final B.C. operation to receive certification from the Aquaculture Steward Council. The Canadian Federation of Agriculture (CFA) is questioning a government decision to phase out salmon farms in the Discovery Islands. (Photo supplied by Mowi Canada West)
Canadian Federation of Agriculture backs B.C. salmon farmers

Letter to prime minister calls for federal “champion” for aquaculture growth

Gov. Gen. Julie Payette takes the royal salute from the Guard of Honour as she makes her way deliver the the throne speech, Wednesday, September 23, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Chartrand
Gov. Gen. Julie Payette resigns, apologizes for ‘tensions’ at Rideau Hall

Payette, who is the Queen’s representative in Canada, has been the governor general since 2017

Grounded WestJet Boeing 737 Max aircraft are shown at the airline’s facilities in Calgary, Alta., Tuesday, May 7, 2019. WestJet will operate the first commercial Boeing 737 Max flight in Canada today since the aircraft was grounded in 2019 following two deadly crashes. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Passengers unfazed as WestJet returns Boeing 737 Max to service on Vancouver flight

After a lengthy review process, Transport Canada cleared the plane to return to Canadian airspace

Most Read