Stockbridge, GA – Nine-year-old Alina of Stockbridge is an immensely creative and gregarious little girl with an extremely vivid imagination. She loves playing make believe games with her sister and doing the hair and make up for her Barbie Styling Head. Alina harbors a wish that one day she will be a famous actress, just like her idol, Jessica Alba.
Recently, this special girl, who suffers from an extremely serious heart condition, got to actually meet her all-time favorite actress in person thanks to her friends at Kids Wish Network, an organization that grants wishes to children with life-threatening illnesses. Alina’s adventure to Hollywood was one that she will never forget!
In May of 2006, Alina was diagnosed with mitral valve regurgitation, a condition in which the heart’s mitral valve doesn’t close tightly and which allows blood to flow backward into the heart. It can be extremely serious and can lead to heart failure. Alina has already had two surgeries due to infections and must visit her cardiologist frequently.
It was Alina’s mother, Vina, who learned about Kids Wish Network after being contacted by one of the charity’s professional fundraisers. When asked if she knew of a child who might qualify for a wish, Vina explained Alina’s condition to the caller and submitted her name. From there, the beginnings of a wish began to come true.
After learning of Alina’s wish to meet Jessica Alba, Kids Wish Network wish coordinator, Madeline, and Wish Funding Specialist, Tanya, quickly got to work. Tanya secured sponsors for the wish while Madeline arranged to fly Alina and her family to Los Angeles and booked hotel accomodations for them at the beautiful Sunset Marquis in West Hollywood. Most importantly, however, Madeline secured a meet and greet between Alina and Jessica Alba, who had some very special things planned for Alina.
As a nod to one of Alina’s favorite pastimes, Jessica Alba wanted to meet her young fan at Estilo Salon for a fun girls’ day makeover. When Alina first laid eyes on the star, she was in awe. “For the first five minutes, I couldn’t believe it,” she said excitedly. “I was pinching myself because it was just like a dream come true.” And it truly was. For the next couple of hours, the actress and Alina chatted easily together as they enjoyed a dual makeover. Jessica even asked Alina to help with her hair and make up.
After the girls were all glammed up, Jessica took Alina shopping at Juicy Couture on Rodeo Drive. Alina had a blast. “I went on a shopping spree and then we had a fashion show. Jessica picked out all kinds of things for me. She asked my mom what size I wore. She has really great taste and style!” Jessica also had Alina pick out a bracelet and different charms for it. But the most special gift of all was the friendship necklace. “That was really special,” gushed Alina. “We each have a half of a heart and when you put them together it says ‘Friends’.”
Another big surprise? The folks at Juicy Couture were so taken with Alina that they decided to launch a brand new color in their clothing line named after her. “They told her whatever color she wanted and they would name it after her,” said Vina.
There were plenty of silly moments too. “I have to drink a lot of water,” said Alina. “So Jessica and I had a water drinking contest!” They also got to know each other pretty well. Vina said Jessica was tremendously easygoing and sweet with Alina. “They talked about movies, video games, music, acting, about her being pregnant. Alina was on cloud nine.”
Vina said that the entire experience was unbelievable. “We were just so thrilled that Jessica took so much time with her. They really had a fantastic time together. It was better than we ever dreamed it could be.” The most incredible part of all she said, was watching Alina have so much fun. “It was the best moment of my life with her. It was such a joy being able to watch my daughter’s face light up the way it did.”
As for Alina herself, it was an adventure she will not soon forget. “Jessica was so funny and so sweet. She was like a Guardian Angel. There are no words for how happy I was!” Alina was also thankful to everyone else involved in the wish, from Roberto Ramos at the salon who did her hair to Lauren Anderson who did her make up to all the folks at Juicy Couture who went out of their way to make her day so special. “Everyone was so nice! I kind of wish I was related to them so I could see them everyday!”
Kids Wish Network would like to thank the following for helping to make Alina’s wish come true: ALS Limousines, Buca di Beppo, Estilo Salon, Juicy Couture, The Sunset Marquis, Universal Studios, Wal-Mart and of course, Ms. Jessica Alba!