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Jessica's wish to go to Japan

“ My trip made me feel great joy, and I don’t think I’ll ever forget about that journey. Receiving a wish meant a lot to me. ”

- Wish kid Jessica

Wish kid Jessica has a medical history that’s far too complicated for a 12-year-old girl.  “I have a gastrointestinal disorder,” Jessica shared.  “I showed signs of it around 5 years old, and then I got better for a couple of years.  But when it actually started to show again, it got a lot worse.  I had to have a lot of medicine, IV’s, fluids, and MRI’s.  One day, the symptoms went away, and up to this point, I’ve been feeling a lot better.”  Jessica’s mom, Sara, shared that they manage Jessica’s symptoms with medicine every day.  

Although her medical journey has been a series of ups and downs, Jessica has always had one constant in her life that allows her to take her mind off of the next MRI or the next 4-hour drive to the children’s hospital in Minneapolis—Japanese culture.  From the food to the clothes to anime, Jessica loves all things Japan.  When it came time for Jessica to decide on a wish, there was no doubt in Jessica’s mind that going to Japan would be the right choice.

When Jessica found out her wish was coming true, a lot of emotions surfaced for Jessica and her family.  “I was feeling a lot of things—shy, happy, scared.  It’s something new,” Jessica said.  “I was very happy and excited for her.  I knew how much Jessica loved everything that this trip would offer her,” Sara added.

The trip to Japan was everything Jessica expected—and more.  Jessica mentions that one of the highlights of her trip was getting lost in Shin Okubo (Korea Town): “Getting lost was entertaining.  We couldn’t figure out which way to go,” Jessica said through laughter.  “We walked for over two miles.  Eventually, we found someone who spoke a little English, and it turned out that we were very close to our destination,” Sara said.  Jessica also loved trying new foods, going to Sanrio Puroland (an indoor theme park featuring Hello Kitty and other cartoon characters), going to the Meiji Shrine, which brought peace and quiet to the whole family, shopping at the BT21 store, and even making new friends. 

One part of Jessica’s trip that she knows she will never forget is the cosplay costume that was designed just for her.  “My cosplay costume was cute, and the character’s name was Akko.  It had a wig, and I liked the design on the dress.  It was made perfectly!”  Jessica said.

The wish experience in Japan left Jessica with an urge to travel more and a grateful heart.  “I may move there,” Jessica shared.  “My trip made me feel great joy, and I don’t think I’ll ever forget about that journey.  Receiving a wish meant a lot to me,” Jessica said.  Her mom also had a lot to say about the effect Jessica’s wish had on her. “I’m very grateful for the Make-A-Wish experience.  I was so happy to see her smile.  Now that we’re back, Jessica’s attitude is so much better.  She’s even doing better in school,” Sara said.

When asked if she had anything else to add about her experience, Jessica replied with an answer that shows how caring and bubbly she really is: “I enjoyed everything.  I also hope that the other kids that got a wish have happy, healthy lives.”

Her wish is made possible thanks to Make-A-Wish® Japan and Adopt-A-Wish® partner Christmas at the Western Mall.

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Make-A-Wish® South Dakota
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