Wishes Are Medicine: How Make-A-Wish Gave Me Hope And Helped Me Heal, written by wish kid Jamie Heath of Barre, VT, and illustrated by Leonard Kenyon of Arlington, VT, tells the story of Jamie's recovery from a brain aneurysm and how Make-A-Wish played an important role in her recovery. With bright, beautiful illustrations, Wishes Are Medicine follows along as wish kid Jamie, accompanied by her pet turtle, Bob, learns not only to walk and read again, but regains hope and thrives in the face of her condition thanks to her wish to travel from her home in Barre, Vermont to swim with sea turtles in Hawaii.
Jamie recently completed her Junior year at Spaulding High School where, in addition to being an honor roll student, she served on the Student Council and Student Outreach Committee. In her free time she volunteers for the Friends of Stowe Adaptive Sports program, an organization that (has provided invaluable support to her in achieving her athletic goals. Jamie is a Wish Ambassador for Make-A-Wish Vermont. She regularly gives speeches at Make-A-Wish events and has appeared in public service announcements on both TV and radio for the organization. Jamie lives with her mother in Barre, Vermont. She really, really loves turtles.
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Jamie became a Wish Ambassador for Make-A-Wish Vermont, even before embarking on her wish trip. Her dynamic personality and upbeat approach to life enchant all who meet her, so the best way we can share Jamie’s wish story is in her very own words.
Jamie spoke at a donor reception before her wish, “Ever since pre-school, I’ve loved turtles. I had a friend there who always found turtles out at play time and I got soooooo jealous. Then, one day at one of my soccer games a couple of years ago, I found a little turtle in the grass. I was soooo excited that I finally found my own turtle and I named him Bob. My mom wouldn’t let me bring him home, something about leaving him in his environment..blah blah blah…so I flashed my eyelashes at Dad and convinced him to let me bring him home to his house. Bob has since passed away but I will never forget how much joy he brought me. Then on Facebook, I saw this video of a nest of baby turtles crawling out of the sand and making their way to the ocean. It was soooo amazing to watch and brought tears to my eyes. My mom asked me why I love turtles so much….they’re not even that cute? I told her that I’m like one of those little turtles struggling to get to the sea and live and I’m going to be one of them that makes it!”
Upon returning from her trip, Jamie wrote about her wish experience, “As I slide off the boat into the freezing ocean, I started testing my abilities to breath with the snorkel mask. The captain had told everybody on the boat to yell my name if they saw a turtle. I was looking all around in the water and I did see some beautiful reefs, which were pretty cool. All of a sudden, I heard my name from about 30 yards away. I started swimming so hard towards the voices that were calling my name to the point where my lungs felt like raisins. I put my head down in the water, and there it was. What I had come halfway across the world for was directly below me. I covered my snorkel with my hand, I was so afraid that I would frighten it. I did want to get near it. But with everybody shouting in my ear, plus the waves pushing us together, I was eventually about two feet away. It was just an insanely amazing adventure.”