Aasha, 16, deals with many doctor appointments and blood transfusions for her sickle cell disease, so she wished to go to a place where “no problem” isn’t just a saying, it’s a lifestyle.
“I wished to go to Jamaica so I could visit Bob Marley’s childhood home. Plus, our family had never been out of the country before,” said Aasha, who loves reggae music and was excited to experience the country’s culture. “We lived in Hawaii for a bit when I was younger, but that’s the furthest we’ve ever traveled.”
Aasha was thrilled to see that her hotel was right on the beach.
“It was amazing, awesome and fantastic!” said Aasha. “I tried not to do too much research because I wanted to be surprised and I loved how everything has a relaxing feel to it. Going to Bob Marley’s house was a huge surprise because I didn’t expect it to be so small. His whole house was the same size as my bedroom!”
Even though Jamaica is known for being laid back, Aasha enjoyed her fair share of adventure.
“We went to a water park, hiked up a waterfall and I jumped into the water,” said Aasha. “We also did a zip line and I was terrified at first because it had a really thin seat that would spin you around, but it ended up being my favorite thing we did.”
One of the biggest benefits of Aasha’s wish was something no one could have predicted.
“We discovered that a lot of people in Jamaica have sickle cell and I learned about the different teas and natural medicine they use as treatment,” said Shivonne, Aasha’s mother. “Merengue tea builds the immune system, so we’ve started drinking that every morning and I’ve been making smoothies for Aasha and her sister since we’ve been back because I’m trying to add more fruits and vegetables into my cooking.”
Looking back, Shivonne says Aasha’s wish brought her family together.
“Aasha tends to isolate herself and she doesn’t do a lot of activities, but her wish was something I noticed her getting excited about and it has her talking more than before,” said Shivonne. “We made friends with the locals and can’t wait to go back to Jamaica again to get more involved in the culture.”
“Even though Aasha is the one who is sick, it’s amazing how each one of us took something from the trip,” she continued. “These are memories we will always have together as a family. Aasha’s wish has been such a blessing for us all.”