Allison Ericson, Valdosta Today News Director:
VALDOSTA — Today, Nov. 7, 11-year-old Jamie White of Waycross, Ga. received a wish made by many, a shopping spree at the Valdosta Mall. Jamie was diagnosed with sickle-cell anemia, a condition caused by her blood having a smaller amount of red blood cells than the average person.
Dorothy Austile, Jamie’s mother explained her condition to the Kids Wish Network (KWN), an organization focused on helping children with life-altering circumstances. The KWN asked Jamie to give them three wishes and they would try to grant one.
“Once the Wish Coordinator has an in-depth understanding of the child’s hopes and dreams, he or she is presented to the Wish Committee,” Sarah DuPree, Public Relations Specialist for KWN, said. “This committee then starts to plan a once-in-a-lifetime experience designed specifically for each child.”
Jamie was picked up in a white limousine from her home in Waycross and then dropped off at the Valdosta Mall. The store Wish sponsors included; Claire’s, Belk, Rue21, American Eagle Outfitters, and Buckle. Jamie’s first stop was to Claire’s, where she was given two bags full of store treats and a basket to fill with whatever she wanted.
“I’m so excited I could just run around, I have so much energy,” White said.
“We always ask for more than one wish to give the child a chance to think larger than life. We strive to make every Wish Kid’s dream come true, but there are some things that even we can’t make happen,” DuPree said. “The committee focuses on creating the best possible wish for every child that fits into our guidelines; we always grant a wish where we can provide an amazing experience.”
When asked what her other wishes were, Jamie said, “To be on the Ellen show and to see Nicki Minaj.” White shared that her third wish for a shopping spree was because she had never gone into a store and bought whatever she wanted.
“It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity, there are a lot of kids out there that don’t get this opportunity, so I’m very thankful for everybody that helped and participated,” Austile said.
Jamie’s condition is now stable after years of different medications, blood testing, and procedures. White is now prescribed only one type of medication to regulate her symptoms.
“I am happy that she got to be a Wish kid, they help you out and make your child’s dreams come true,” Austile said. “Between me and her, we want to thank everybody, thank you to everyone who helped and made this happen for her.”