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

A tow truck works to pull a dump truck from a ditch at 176 Street and 40 Avenue, following a two-vehicle incident Tuesday (Jan. 19) afternoon. (Aaron Hinks photo)
PHOTOS: Dump truck, car collide in South Surrey

Intersection – 176 Street and 40 Avenue – was site of 2019 fatal collision

An electric vehicle charging station in front of Hope’s municipal hall, district hall. (Photo: Emelie Peacock/Hope Standard)
40 electric vehicle charging stations planned for Surrey

Funding coming from all three levels of government

Police on the scene of a homicide in South Surrey’s Morgan Heights neighbourhood earlier this month. (Tracy Holmes photo)
Crime Stoppers received more than 500 tips related to gang activity in 2020: report

Metro Vancouver organization “urging local residents to keep providing anonymous tips”

Family and friends of Hudson Brooks marched as part of a call for answers from an IIO investigation into his 2015 death. (Black Press Media files)
Inquest to look into RCMP shooting death of Hudson Brooks

Charges agains the RCMP officer who shot Brooks were stayed in 2019

Syringe is prepared with one of B.C.’s first vials of Pfizer vaccine to prevent COVID-19, Victoria, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 caseload stays steady with 465 more Tuesday

No new outbreaks in health care facilities, 12 more deaths

New Westminster TV production designer, Rick Whitfield, has designed an office in a box for British Columbians in need of a private workspace. (BC Box Office photo)
PHOTOS: B.C. man designs ‘box office’ solution for those working from home

‘A professionally designed workspace on your property, away from the distractions of home’

Chilliwack ER doctor Marc Greidanus is featured in a video, published Jan. 18, 2021, where he demonstrates and describes effectiveness of various styles of masks. (Youtube)
VIDEO: Emergency room doctor runs through pros and cons of various masks

‘We’ve been asked to wear a mask and it’s not that hard,’ Greidanus says.

(Pixabay photo)
VIDEO: Tip to Metro Vancouver transit police helps woman 4,000 km away in Ohio

Sgt. Clint Hampton says transit police were alerted to a YouTube video of the woman in mental distress

A woman types on her laptop in Miami in a Monday, Dec. 12, 2016, photo illustration. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Wilfredo Lee
British Columbia government lax on cybersecurity practices, auditor reports

The audit did not highlight a specific threat, but it found breaches in cybersecurity are increasing globally

A child joins the Uke ‘n Play kickoff event at the Chilliwack Library on Oct. 1, 2016. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Events return, in virtual form, at Fraser Valley Regional Library

People can take part in ukulele jam, bullet journaling, reading groups and more

Cranbrook Food Bank coordinator Deanna Kemperman, Potluck Cafe Society executive director Naved Noorani and Sunshine Coast Community Services Society executive director Catherine Leach join B.C.’s new Municipal Affairs Minister Josie Osborne on a video call about B.C. gaming grants, Jan. 19, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C. gaming grants reorganized for COVID-19 priorities

Minister highlights community kitchens, food banks

(Pixabay photo)
‘Cocaine bananas’ arrive at Kelowna grocery stores after mix up from Colombia: RCMP

Kelowna RCMP recently concluded an international drug investigation after finding cocaine in local grocers’ banana shipments in 2019

People wearing face masks to curb the spread of COVID-19 walk past a window display at a store in downtown Vancouver, on Sunday, December 13, 2020. The association representing businesses across Metro Vancouver says the costs of COVID-19 continue to mount for its members.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Greater Vancouver business organization says members face uncertain outlook in 2021

Many Greater Vancouver businesses are barely treading water as they enter 2021

Most Read