MASHPEE-Twelve-year-old girls should be looking forward to going to the mall, making the cheerleading team, or just hanging out with friends all day long. And for young Jasmine, these are all things she loved doing until less than a year ago before her life suddenly changed forever. Doctors diagnosed her with a rare form of leukemia and told her that she would need to undergo a bone marrow transplant. “We haven’t kept anything from her, she knows everything that’s happening,” said her mother, Kim. “She’s such an upbeat kid, I think it’s her personality that’s helping to get her through all of this.”
But even with a positive attitude, Jasmine was still in need of a little magic of her own. By a twist of fate, professional fundraisers of Kids Wish Network, an organization that grants wishes to children with life threatening illnesses, happened to contact Jasmine’s aunt for a donation and she was able to submit her niece’s name to the charity for a wish. Soon Wish Coordinator TJ Whitlock called Jasmine and told her she could have anything she could dream of; she chose a computer. “I think she wanted it because she is locked away from everybody and she saw it as her connection to the outside world,” Kim said. But TJ soon learned that Jasmine was going into the hospital almost immediately; the computer wouldn’t get to her until she was released from the hospital after over seven weeks in isolation.
So while Jasmine was in the hospital, TJ went to work trying to make sure everything was in place for her homecoming. While she was still in the hospital, Jasmine received a “wish box” from Kids Wish Network, full of CDs, cosmetics, trinkets, teddy bears and back packs. Her mom was able to take it to her in the hospital so she could start to enjoy her wish a little. Soon, Kim brought word to Jasmine that her computer had arrived at home, but Jasmine asked that no one turn it on yet, because she wanted to be the first. And not only did TJ get Jasmine a new desktop computer, but she also got her a printer, scanner, web cam, Internet access for a year, and a brand new mahogany computer desk.
“It’s really, really good,” said Jasmine about being home. “I love the computer and the desk is really nice. I’ve been chatting with my friends online a lot.” She’s even been using it to keep up with her older sister who is away at college. Her mother said that everything is very difficult on her right now, but the computer is helping. “It will be six months to a year before anyone will be able to come by the house to visit her for fear of infection,” Kim said. “But this way she can talk to her friends on the computer.” And Jasmine said when she’s feeling better, she’ll start using it for schoolwork.
Jasmine’s only been home a little over a week, but she’s doing well. “We’re all so glad to have her home and to be away from the hospital,” said Kim. “She still has to go once a week to get her blood checked, but we just keep our thoughts positive because her brother was the bone marrow donor, so she has a 70% cure rate.” And now, no matter what her energy level, Jasmine can surf the net and be like any other kid her age. “What TJ did for Jasmine was pretty cool,” said Kim. Thanks to Kids Wish Network, Jasmine now has her own temporary link to the world, just until she’s well enough to venture back out on her own.
Kids Wish Network is a nationally recognized non-profit organization whose mission is to grant wishes to children who have life-threatening illnesses. If you know a child between the ages of 3 and 18 who may be in need of their wish granting services, please call (813)891-9374 or toll free at (888)918-9004. You can also visit its web site at www.kidswishnetwork.org.