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

Just Posted

Owner Daren McWhinney is really excited about the new location of Angry Vegan which just opened up at 536 Main Street. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
Penticton’s Main Street turns into foodie heaven

Angry Vegan, Wild Ginger, Twisted Chopsticks and Gratify recently opened

Four golfers from Fairview Mountain Golf Club in Oliver will golf from sunrise to sunset to raise funds for ALS on June 29. (Submitted)
Golfing from sunrise to sunset in Oliver for ALS

Four golfers from Fairview Mountain Golf Club have taken up the challenge June 29

The Journey, an art exhibit by Pauline Hurley, was on display at the Summerland Ats Centre earlier this spring. Beginning June 15, the Summerland Community Arts Council will present Spark, a 10-week community arts challenge. (Summerland Review file photo)
Challenge to spark creativity among Summerland artists

Spark challenge will begin June 15 and will run 10 weeks

A storm watch has been issued for the Okanagan, Kootenays and Columbia regions of B.C. (Calvin Dickson photo)
Another severe thunderstorm watch issued for the Okanagan

Conditions are favourable for thunderstorms that may produce strong wind gusts, hail and heavy rain

The South Okanagan Tim Hortons raised over $4,000 through the three day orange doughnut promotion with 100 per cent of proceeds going to to the Residential School Survivors Society. The owner of these locations matched the amount. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
South Okanagan Tim Hortons raises over $8K for residential school survivors

More than $4,000 worth of doughnuts were purchased over three days

Singer-songwriter Jann Arden is pictured with a draft horse. (Canadian Horse Defence Coalition)
Jann Arden backs petition to stop live horse export

June 14 is the International Day to End Live Export of Animals

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price (31) is scored on by Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Alec Martinez, not pictured, during the second period in Game 1 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup semifinal playoff series Monday, June 14, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Habs fall 4-1 to Vegas Golden Knights in Game 1 of NHL semifinal series

Match was Montreal’s first game outside of Canada in 2021

(Dave Ogilvie photo)
One injured after being pinned by fallen forklift near Peachland

West Kelowna emergency crews responded to reports of a person stuck under a forklift

Penticton Overdose Prevention Society co-founders Desiree Franz, Shane Surowski and Stephanie Lines have created the city’s first unsanctioned public overdose prevention site using an old wine-tour bus. The site began operations in June 2021. (Desiree Franz/Facebook)
Volunteers launch Penticton’s first public supervised injection site

2021 is on pace to be the deadliest year for overdoses in Penticton on record

Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick, assistant deputy speaker at the B.C. legislature, presides over committee discussions. The legislature is completing its delayed spring session this week, with most MLAs participating by video conference. (Hansard TV)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 infections dip below 100 over weekend

Only 68 new cases recorded Monday, four additional deaths

B.C. ambulance station in Revelstoke is expected to get a new system called the Scheduled On-Call (SOC) this fall. (Liam Harrap - Revelstoke Review)
B.C. ambulance changes could put Revelstoke residents at risk, warn local paramedics

Paramedics said to expect a substantial increase in ambulance response time starting this fall

This goose family went for a leisurely stroll down Vernon’s Main Street Saturday, April 25. (Dave Deshane photo)
Controversial Vernon goose cull won’t fly this year

Necessary permit procedures held up at a federal level

Mounties cover a burgundy truck with a tent at Buckerfields in West Kelowna on Monday, June 14. The RCMP is investigating after a woman’s body was found inside the truck. (Amandalina Letterio/Capital News)
West Kelowna RCMP investigating suspicious death after body found in truck

Police responded to a truck parked out front of a Main Street business where the body was found

The BC Ferries website went down for a short while Monday morning following a provincial announcement that recreational travel between health authorities can resume Tuesday. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Ferries’ website crashes in wake of provincial reopening announcement

Website back up now, recreational travel between health regions to resume as of Tuesday

Most Read