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

Royston resident and photographer Tanja Kerr took a quick video of two eagles taking a quick dip in the water earlier this week. Video still/Tanja Kerr
Video: Eagle spotting in Royston

Photographer Tanja Kerr ensures her camera is always nearby

Rod Bitten of Union Bay won $500,000 in the Lotto Max draw on Jan. 15. Photo supplied
Union Bay electrician gets shocking surprise with $500K Extra win

Rod Bitten has been hard at work with home renovations, which is… Continue reading

Eighteen-year-old Aidan Webber died in a marine accident in 2019. He was a Canadian Junior BMX champion from Nanaimo. (Submitted)
Inadequate safety training a factor in teen BMX star’s workplace death in 2019

Aidan Webber was crushed by a barge at a fish farm near Port Hardy

Oyster River Fire Rescue members were called out to a suspicious fire in Black Creek. Two vehicles parked at a private residence were destroyed by fire. Photo courtesy Oyster River Fire Rescue
Suspicious fire destroys two vehicles at Black Creek residence

Oyster River Fire Rescue personnel were dispatched to a fire at a… Continue reading

The Northeast Woods in Comox is a popular area for hikers and mountain bike riders. It's also a protected park and conservation area. Photo by Scott Stanfield
Comox Valley RCMP seeking witnesses to ‘indecent act’ in Northeast Woods

Comox Valley RCMP are looking for witnesses after a man was seen… Continue reading

Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, vice-president of logistics and operations at the Public Health Agency of Canada, speaks at a news conference on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa, on Friday, Jan. 15, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
B.C. records 500 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, 14 deaths

Outbreak at Surrey Pretrial jail, two more in health care

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Francina Mettes and Thomas Schouten with the 200-page document they submitted in December of 2018. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)
Dutch man, 94, facing unwanted trip home can stay in B.C. with wife of 45 years

Immigration offices cuts red tape so couple of 45 years can stay together in Victoria area

Health Minister Adrian Dix looks on as Dr. Bonnie Henry pauses for a moment as she gives her daily media briefing regarding Covid-19 for the province of British Columbia in Victoria, B.C, Monday, December 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. Premier, health officials to discuss next steps in COVID immunization plan

Nearly 31,000 doses of vaccine the province expected by Jan. 29 could be curtailed due to production issues

Homalco First Nation said that it will intervene in the judicial review sought by aquaculture companies with regards to federal decision to phase out 19 Discovery Island fish farms by 2022. In this picture from Sept. 24, a demonstrator wears representations of sea lice outside the Fisheries and Oceans Canada offices in downtown Vancouver.(Quinn Bender photo)
Chief says push for fish farm judicial review a challenge to reconciliation, Aboriginal Rights

Homalco First Nation chief reacts to Mowi and Cermaq intervention in Discovery Island decision

Vancouver Canucks’ Travis Hamonic grabs Montreal Canadiens’ Josh Anderson by the face during first period NHL action in Vancouver, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horvat scores winner as Canucks dump Habs 6-5 in shootout thriller

Vancouver and Montreal clash again Thursday night

A suspect has been arrested in connection with fires at Drinkwater Elementary (pictured) and École Mount Prevost. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Arson suspect arrested after fires at Cowichan Valley schools

Drinkwater Elementary and Mount Prevost schools hit within a week

A woman writes a message on a memorial mural wall by street artist James “Smokey Devil” Hardy during a memorial to remember victims of illicit drug overdose deaths on International Overdose Awareness Day, in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, on Monday, August 31, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. paramedics respond to record-breaking number of overdose calls in 2020

On the front lines, COVID-19 has not only led to more calls, but increased the complexity

Most Read