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Aubrey's tropical wish brings her warmth and lasting memories

Aubrey Jeff Shewmon

“ This had a positive impact ... lifted her spirits. ”

- Aubrey's mom, Leah

Aubrey has just been told she can wish for anything. A memory comes to mind of laying on a surfboard, waves gently rocking her back and forth, and her dad paddling beside her. It’s tinged with happiness. This moment, this memory, is the inspiration behind Aubrey’s wish.

Aubrey does have a special request, though. During that first surfing experience, she was wearing a wet suit to protect her from the cold water. This time, she tells her wish granters Jeff and Laura Corsello, she wants to surf in some warm waves.

A Care-Free State

Aubrey lowers her snorkeling mask under the waves. Below the surface of the water, she discovers a world of colorful, darting fish and vibrant coral. She and her family are spending the day at Hanauma Bay -- a popular snorkeling destination off the coast of O’ahu -- where Aubrey is getting a taste for Hawaii’s tropical waters.

The next day, it’s time to take on the waves. Instructors bring Aubrey and her family by boat to a “secret spot” for her lesson. Aubrey lies on her board, rising and falling with the slow tide of the ocean, and that same happy feeling she remembers washes over her. The day is everything Aubrey dreamed it would be, and the water is as clear and warm as she imagined.

Aubrey’s trip also includes a drive to the North Shore, where she enjoys fresh coconut water and homemade passion fruit ice-cream, lounges on white-sand beaches and ducks 10-foot waves with her dad. One evening, the family attends an authentic Hawaiian luau, complete with flower leis, hula lessons and Aubrey’s dad in a grass skirt. Aubrey’s mom, Leah, says of the trip, “It was so nice to see Aubrey in a care-free state. She was just enjoying the quiet and warm atmosphere.”

Warm Memories

Aubrey’s wish was made more special by all the care and attention that went into her experience. Even before departing for Hawaii, Aubrey was treated to hearing her name announced over the loud speaker at the airport. An arrangement of orchids and fresh pineapple water were waiting for her at the hotel. And on the return flight, Aubrey and her brother, Ethan, rode home in style in two extra first-class seats. For a period, Aubrey was able to leave thoughts of her medical condition behind and escape into a world of bliss.

But Aubrey’s experience wasn’t over when she got off the plane. It continues to provide her with hope for her future, and has brought lasting, joyful memories to her family. “From the beginning when we first met Laura and Jeff at our house, to having the fabulous reveal party at Aubrey's favorite restaurant Boccali’s in Ojai, to receiving her custom surfboard which in now hanging up in our living room and all the wonderful gifts, to the grand finale of going to Hawaii, this has really had a positive impact on Aubrey and has lifted her spirits,” Aubrey’s mom said.

Every year, Make-A-Wish needs 50,000 round-trip tickets to fly wish kids and their families to destinations around the world. Aubrey was able to experience the sun and sand of Hawaii because of the generosity of our donors. Donate your airline miles today and help wish kids take flight. 

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