Aubriona, 12, blood disorder
I wish to go horseback riding in Tennessee
Aubriona’s days are often consumed with medical procedures and the disappointment of watching her peers from the sidelines. But while riding horseback through the Great Smoky Mountains, she had the opportunity to enjoy life on her own terms.
“My daughter felt so special the time we were gone,” Aubriona’s mom, Erikia, said of her daughter’s wish trip to Tennessee. “She felt like someone cared about what she was going through.”
Since Aubriona was diagnosed with a blood disorder four years ago at the age of eight, her family constantly fears that she will bruise or bleed uncontrollably. She has regular blood transfusions to help her, but the worry is constant four years after diagnosis.
“Our lives have changed dramatically, always worrying when she’s at school or anywhere else,” Erikia said. “We have to miss work and she misses school a lot so that she can have her IVIG treatments. This is an all-day event each time at a hospital an hour away.”
Planning this wish was a much-needed escape from hospitals and worries. Aubriona got to pick out exactly what she wanted to do on her wish trip in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, from her family’s overnight lodging – a cozy log cabin – to horseback riding as the main event.
“Our favorite highlight was the horseback riding,” Erikia said. “It was such a great experience for the whole family. We loved the time away in a nice, cozy place, to not have to worry about anything. [It was] much needed family time just to enjoy life.”
The family first went to Tennessee for a vacation in February 2012, just a few months before Aubriona was diagnosed. Her wish not only revisited a memory from before her illness, but also allowed her to add new experiences.
“It meant the world to me that she got to do whatever she wished,” Erikia said. “I loved seeing her so happy doing things she loves to do.”
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