Faith has an important role in 15-year-old Jazmin’s life.
She had faith when, as a high school freshman she began to lose energy during her soccer practices. After being admitted to the hospital, Jazmin was diagnosed with stage III gastric adenocarcinoma, an extremely rare form of stomach cancer.
Treatment would require a significant surgery, removing many vital organs and leaving Jazmin deaf and unable to speak. Doctors projected Jazmin would live six months at most without treatment. Jazmin and her family chose quality of life over quantity of life, having faith that their decision, while hard, was also right.
“I decided not to undergo treatment,” said Jazmin. “I have made my sacraments through the years and my Catholic faith is an on-going testament that I believe in the Lord our God. My decision was made knowing He would look out for me.”
Secure in her faith and in her decision, Jazmin took it one step further when she was contacted by Make-A-Wish Arizona.
Her wish - to visit the Vatican and receive her Last Rites in the Holy City – was a way to spend time with her loved ones and to create lasting memories her family could hold on to during the tough times ahead.
“I never thought I would pick this type of wish before my illness, but I wished for something that could bring me both spiritual and mental healing,” Jazmin said. “I wanted to have an experience that could ease my confusion and fears, and provide my family with the peace we need.”
Within two weeks, Jazmin and her family set off on a trip to Italy.
“I was amazed at how quickly Make-A-Wish Arizona worked and all the time and effort they put into making my wish come true,” said Jazmin. “No other organization would be able to do this for a complete stranger, especially with the concerns of my health. I never would have been able to experience something like this without Make-A-Wish Arizona.”
“My odds were 0.05 percent of contracting this disease, which is normally only found in patients over 60 years old,” said Jazmin, who is sharing her story on Facebook and Twitter with the hashtag JazminsJourney
. “I accept that my time on earth is limited and My Heavenly Father is guiding my family and myself on a journey. We will fully enjoy the uncertain amount of time God will allow us to share together.”
Once Jazmin arrived in Italy, she was blessed by The Pope at a mass in St. Peter’s Square, both an incredible and chilling experience.
“It was bittersweet because the experience cured me spiritually, even if it couldn’t cure me physically,” said Jazmin. “I believe The Pope is the next step to God, so his touch really brought me peace.”
Jazmin also visited a Vatican church to receive her final anointing of the sick sacrament, and the family attended a private Mass held in Spanish.
“I’m so grateful Make-A-Wish Arizona has given me and my family this opportunity,” Jazmin said. “My life as a Catholic follower has come full circle with my final sacrament and I am so thankful I’ve felt the healing power and strength of The Pope and that I could receive this gift.”
Before returning home, Jazmin and her family took time to tour Italian landmarks like the Vatican museum and the Colosseum. They also enjoyed lots of pizza and gelato.
“This whole experience has taught me that even with a terminal illness, you can really have anything you wish for in life,” said Jazmin. “I hope my story helps people appreciate what they have and I want them to be inspired to do everything they set their mind to.”
Jazmin's wish in the news:
Phoenix cancer patient blessed by The Pope (12 News)
Jazmin receives blessing from The Pope (West Valley View)
Make-A-Wish Arizona sends Phoenix girl to Vatican City (AZFamily)