Fifteen-year-old Amisha Hockridge of Swift Current is enjoying a summer trip with her family to a city that does not include any medical appointments.
She was granted a wish by Make-A-Wish Canada and she decided to make a travel wish.
“I want to spend time with my family, somewhere we can go and didn't have to think about medical stuff,” she told the Prairie Post a few days before their departure to Dubai. “It's not a trip where we go on a trip, but then you also have to go and spent some days in a hospital somewhere.”
They departed from Calgary on July 6 on a flight to Paris, where they had time for sightseeing during a day-long layover. They arrived in Dubai on July 8 and will spend a week in this popular Middle East tourism destination.
Amisha was feeling really excited and full of anticipation to have this unique experience with her parents Mike and Veena, and her older brother Krishin.
“I wanted it to be something way different,” she said about her wish.
She selected three alternative destinations for her wish, of which Dubai was her first choice. Her other two wish destinations were a Disney cruise and Hawaii. She was attracted to Dubai for a variety of reasons.
“Dubai has the world largest shopping mall and then they also have the world's tallest building and they have this shark slide,” she explained. “So it's a water slide, it's like a clear tube, that surrounds you with sharks. It just has a whole bunch of cool things. So that's why I picked it.”
She loves skiing and one of the world’s largest indoor ski areas are located in Dubai. She is also looking forward to a camel ride in the desert and a trip in off-road vehicles across the desert dunes.
Her family did not know which destinations she selected for the wish. Her parents felt it was important for her to make the decision on the destinations on her own, because it will be her trip of a lifetime.
“It's her wish and we want it to be all about her,” Veena said. “We're excited that she gets to have the wish of her lifetime and that's something positive for her instead of always hospitals and doctors.”
The cost of the wish is covered by Make-A-Wish Canada, which allows a wish child and her family to have a relaxing and memorable trip.
“It's all about the wish child having the best time of their life without worrying about hospitals and medication, and if she gets sick while we're there, we're covered as well,” Veena said.
Amisha submitted her three wish options a while ago to Make-A-Wish Canada, and she learned about her wish destination during a surprise wish reveal party in Swift Current on June 21. The party was attended by her family and friends, as well as her local physician, her Grade 1 teacher and her dance teacher.
“I walked in and I was not expecting to see any of my friends, because we've said goodbye to each other for the end of the year that day, right before the party,” she laughed. “So I was saying goodbye to all of them and saying I'll see you next year, and they were all hesitant when they were saying see you next year, but I didn't think anything of it.”
The family will return to Canada from their Dubai trip on July 16, and on July 19 they will participate in the K-Days Parade in Edmonton as part of the Make-A-Wish Canada parade entry.
Unfortunately, Amisha will not be able to escape entirely from the reality of her medical condition during this time. Trips to Calgary usually includes medical visits, and as a cost saving measure for the family this trip will be no different. Amisha had some medical appointments before their departure for Dubai. After their return there will be more appointments in Calgary before they travel to Edmonton for the K-Days Parade.
She has a rare condition called Microtia, which is a congenital ear deformity, but each case is different. She was born without an outer and middle right ear, her head was deformed, she had a tethered spinal cord and one kidney was only performing at 30 per cent capacity.
Microtia is a condition that affects one in every 10,000 children, but Amisha is one of every 8,000 children born with more serious complications.
She already had 14 surgeries and part of the medical consultation in Calgary after their return will be to determine if there is a need for more surgery to her spine.
The cost of travel and accommodation to various cities for medical appointments has been an ongoing expense for the family, which is also why a date for a trip to the Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, has not yet been finalized. A medical specialist at this hospital will do an evaluation of her bowel condition, which is related to her Microtia.
“We really need to get to Ohio so we can give her this change for her bowel situation,” Veena said. “It is very tedious on her, and taking medication every day for 15 years has been kind of crazy just to be able to get her bowels to work at all. So this is a big blessing that this doctor has taken on her case, and if anybody has any fundraising ideas they can throw them at us.”
People who want to support the family with their expenses to take Amisha to Ohio for her medical consultation can purchase gift cards at Marlin Travel to help with flight costs, or they can make a donation to “The Amisha Hockridge Medical Trust Fund” at Innovation Credit Union.