For many, it’s hard to remember the days of our preteens. Really, what distinctly happens when you’re twelve? The monumental occurrence most await is hitting their teenage years. For 12-year-old Jadyn, her story is different.
During the Christmas season, children usually receive presents, gifts, and other treasures, but for Jadyn, Christmas delivered something different. On the day after Christmas in 2016, she received the devastating news that she had leukemia. Though this was an overwhelming and cruel thing for a young girl to face, Jadyn refused to let it knock her down. Jadyn’s mother, Stephanie, shared that through this journey, Jadyn hasn’t been down or discouraged. “She’s treated it like the flu or a common cold with an ‘I’ll take my medicine and it’ll get better type of attitude,’” said Stephanie
Described as extremely funny and quick-witted, Jadyn also has an eclectic personality surrounding her hobbies. One of Jadyn’s passions is putting together Japanese candy kits and trying the different types. Stephanie said that you can purchase them from Amazon or a select few chain stores. When asked how Jadyn initially found this hobby of hers, Stephanie laughed saying she honestly didn’t know. “Sometimes they come with the directions in Japanese but Jadyn swears she can look at the pictures and figure it out on her own,” said Stephanie. Aside from making the candies, another one of her hobbies includes watching YouTube videos, including watching Americans review candies from other countries.
Given her interest in other cultures and her unstoppable spirit, it was no surprise when Jadyn decided on her one-true wish: a trip to Hawaii. Jadyn chose Hawaii because of all of the activities possible wrapped up in the once in a lifetime experience. Aside from enjoying the beauty of the islands, Jadyn wanted to swim with the dolphins, attend a luau and visit Pearl Harbor—and she did them all with her mom, dad and older brother by her side. “She was able to go to the front of the line for everything and she didn’t have to wait for anything, so really, she was the queen of the trip,” said Stephanie. From the moment the plane landed, Stephanie knew it was going to be a good time. The only thing they had to worry about was picking the restaurants to eat at. One of Jadyn’s favorite parts was the luau where she was honored by receiving a towel, a coconut purse and a homemade headband. Stephanie laughed reminiscing at the thought of her son, Jadyn’s older brother, dancing with the women at the luau. “For everyone, it was a good break; a breather from the hospital so we could do normal family things,” shared Stephanie.
The anticipation of the experience was almost as exciting as the wish itself. Jadyn was in the hospital whenever she found out the exciting news that she was going to Hawaii, after her family had kept it a secret. After Jadyn found out, she immediately started picking out her outfits and swimming suits for the trip, eager to rid herself of the dull, hospital gowns. “She had Pinterest on fire,” Stephanie joked.
After the wish, Jadyn returned with reclaimed control that her wish was able to give her. “In the hospital, you have no control over what’s going on. The doctors have the control. Her wish gave her some control because she got to choose what to do,” said Stephanie. One thing Jadyn chose to do and advises others to do that visit Hawaii is to eat pineapple! “The pineapple is so much better than the ones here. They are more juicy and flavorful!” said Jadyn.
On June 29th, Jadyn received a bone marrow transplant and is still recovering. However, something else happened since her wish: Jadyn turned 13.
As Jadyn reflects on the year before her teenage years began it’s not like the rest of us, struggling to remember the things we did or the sights we saw. For Jadyn, she is able to look back on her year of being 12, and remember it for the hardships and the fond memories. It was the year of her diagnosis, the year that she fought, the year that she gained control back, the year she tried the juiciest pineapple, swam with dolphins and danced at a luau.
For Jadyn, her story is one she’ll remember forever