A local teen gets jetted out to New York to have the full-on “Big Apple” treatment with a little help from Kids Wish Network.
When you’re seventeen, every school and church trip is extremely important; for Ashley, they were even more so and yet, she did not get the chance to go on any of these excursions because of something that happened a few years ago. Back in November of 2003, Ashley was diagnosed with Lyme disease. Lyme disease is a multisystematic inflammatory disease that spreads to the joints, nervous system and other major organs. It commonly leads to cardiac inflammation, severe joint pain and chronic fatigue. The disease can be extremely serious and difficult to treat. It also adversely affects the immune system so Ashley’s body has an extremely difficult time fighting infections. She has undergone rigorous antibiotic treatments and has had to have homebound schooling due to chronic fatigue and other complications.
As her mother, Sharon, had donated to Kids Wish Network in the past, she knew about the program’s mission to grant the wishes of children with life-threatening illnesses; when contacted by a Kids Wish Network professional fundraiser, she brought up the subject of her daughter and was soon told to nominate her for a wish. It wasn’t long before Ashley was assigned to her very own Wish Coordinator, named Jill. It was Jill who found out, from Ashley, that her number one wish was to visit New York and see the sights, and she made it possible. With the help of some amazing sponsors, Jill organized an ‘expedition’ to New York, including guided tours of the city and of the MTV studios, a shopping spree to Abercrombie & Fitch, makeovers at Bloomingdale’s, a trip to see the Rockettes at the Radio City Music Hall, seats at the Broadway production of Disney’s “The Little Mermaid” and meals at some of New York’s top restaurants.
“It was the trip of a lifetime…it was absolutely wonderful…like it was sent from God.” Ashley’s mother, Sharon, shared some descriptions of the trip. “There’s nothing we would have changed!” The tours around New York were spectacular to behold; both Ashley and Sharon were spellbound. At one point, during the day tour, Ashley mentioned that she wished she could see New Jersey on the tour and, while on the nighttime dinner cruise, she had the chance to view New Jersey from the ship. It was just what she wanted.
Radio City Music Hall is truly something to behold if you never have, and it’s even more spectacular when you see an acquaintance onstage in the kick-line! On the flight from Georgia to New York, Ashley and her mother sat next to a young woman who mentioned that she was a dancer. While marveling at the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, Ashley noticed the same woman onstage with the Rockettes! It was an amazing evening and Ashley felt truly blessed to have experienced something so magnificent.
Besides the Radio City Music Hall Christmas Spectacular, Ashley really enjoyed the shopping and the restaurants. As her favorite store is Abercrombie & Fitch, Jill made sure that Ashley had the chance to visit their New York location, and she even secured a $250 gift card for Ashley to do a little shopping! As for the restaurants, they were simply the best that she had ever been to. With meals at restaurants like Au Bon Pain, UNO Chicago Grill, Cinema The Brasserie and the Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., Ashley had no lack of outstanding culinary variety.
“Our whole life has changed…this has been a turning point for us,” said Ashley’s mother. Since their return, Ashley found out that she excelled on her GED test and her mother, Sharon, secured a new job in a new city. Everything looks much brighter now to Ashley and her mother: “It did her SO much good.” About Ashley’s Wish Coordinator, Jill, Sharon said that “she is wonderful!” Jill organized everything so perfectly that the wish seemed effortless for Ashley and Sharon. “It’s something we’ll be talking about for years to come.” Upon returning home, Ashley told her mother, “Momma, I’ve never had so much fun.” It was the perfect trip and Ashley and her mother can’t thank Kids Wish Network enough: “We are SO thankful to all of you.” Ashley’s New York getaway was really her dream come true.
Kids Wish Network would like to thank the following for helping to make Ashley’s wish extra special: Disney Theatrical Productions, MTV Studios, The Roosevelt Hotel, Saks Fifth Avenue, Bloomingdale’s, U.S. Limousine Service, Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., Radio City Music Hall, UNO Chicago Grill, Cinema the Brasserie, Au Bon Pain, Top of the Rock Observation Deck, Planet Hollywood, On Board Tours and Spirit Cruises.