Ahviance's Wish Granted By Make-A-Wish New Jersey
March 1, 2020
Monroe Township - A local teen’s wish was granted by Make-A-Wish New Jersey, whose mission is to create life-changing wishes for children with critical illnesses. 16-year-old Ahviance’s wish to go to the Anime Conference in Los Angeles was granted last summer, thanks to the 2019 Jersey Mike’s Subs “Month of Giving” Campaign, which raised over $458,000 for Make-A-Wish New Jersey. Jersey Mike’s Subs and Make-A-Wish New Jersey are partnering once again this March for the 2020 “Month of Giving”, to raise funds to grant wishes for children with critical illnesses. The campaign kicked off March 1st.
Ahviance, of Neptune New Jersey, has had to face many difficult challenges in her life, beginning at birth. At just three weeks old, she would face a critical medical situation and have to undergo open heart surgery – a procedure she’d experience twice more over the next two years. When she was 14 years old, Ahviance also developed another life-threatening illness, a rare disease known as Evans Syndrome. For her mother Donell, it was a terrifying experience.
“She’s strong, having already gone through heart surgeries when she was younger,” Donell shared. “She’s so strong that I didn’t even know she was sick.”
Ahviance was at school when she began to feel unwell two years ago. When medical tests came back, they revealed that her blood cell counts – which would normally be about 15, were at an astonishing 4.8.
It’s been a difficult road for Ahviance as she bravely faces her rare disease with courage and determination. She and her mother also credit the dedicated medical team at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia for their care and comfort through trying times.
“We had to drive through the night to the hospital,” Donell reflected. “The next morning, her doctor came in with food. They’ve gone the extra mile for us.”
“Everything Ahviance has been through, what she’s missed out on, it’s been really tough,” Donell continued. “She’s still battling…so far, so good.”
Ahviance was being treated at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia when she was referred to Make-A-Wish. She met with volunteers from Make-A-Wish New Jersey, and was asked the life-changing, powerful question other wish kids are asked: “If you could have one wish, what would it be?”
Ahviance decided her one true wish was to experience an Anime conference in Los Angeles and immerse herself in the excitement and intrigue of the industry she had taken a deep interest in.
"She’s been drawing since she was very young,” Donell shared proudly. “She would draw in the hospital constantly, to help her pass the time. She loves it.”
Ahviance’s passion for drawing also turned into a career aspiration, and she has begun realize that aspiration into a reality. She attends art school in addition to high school a few days a week, and is working towards becoming a professional cartoonist.
“I thought with my love of art and Anime, that the Anime conference would be a great choice,” Ahviance shared.
Ahviance and her family flew to sunny California in July for a five-day experience that would create memories to last a lifetime. From the VIP experience as she stepped into the limousine to get to the airport, she knew she was in for a life-changing trip. It was her first time on an airplane, too, which made the trip even more exciting.
Once in Los Angeles, Ahviance had the chance to experience everything the conference had to offer, from free reign of wondering the convention hall, visiting the different exhibits, tickets to the Love Live! Anime concert, and a VIP pass that allowed her to skip the lines and move right through to anything she wanted to see, Ahviance felt like a celebrity for the week.
“The convention was the size of a football field!” Donell reflected. “The lines were very long, so the VIP pass was great!”
They also spent time enjoying the sunny California coast, including a drive up to the famous Malibu beaches. The trip gave Ahviance and her family a chance to simply be together as a family, away from the hospital and the stresses that come with a rare disease. It provided them a chance to create lasting memories and return home with a renewed energy.
“It was amazing just to see her happy like that,” Donell continued. “After everything she’s been through, she deserved this wish.”
Ahviance’s wish was granted thanks to the funds raised by local Jersey Mike’s Subs restaurants as part of last year’s “Month of Giving” campaign, which granted over 40 wishes for kids like Ahviance.
In March 2020, over 80 Jersey Mike’s Subs restaurants throughout New Jersey will once again join forces with Make-A-Wish New Jersey, raising vital funds needed to aid the organization in their mission. The month long customer-donation campaign, which will culminate with the “Day of Giving” on Wednesday March 25th, a day when Jersey Mike’s Subs restaurants donates 100% of the day’s sales, hopes to engage the local community and raise significant funds to grant more wishes this year. Since 2017, Jersey Mike’s Subs has donated over $1 Million to Make-A-Wish New Jersey.
Make-A-Wish New Jersey has granted nearly 11,000 wishes since its inception in 1983. The generous support of corporations like Jersey Mike’s Subs is critical to the organization’s continued success.