I wish to swim with whale sharks

Nicole could not stop smiling through her whole experience, and that smile will stay with her forever
Nicole, 11, Singapore
biliary atresia

 

 

Designing an adventure

For Nicole, life with biliary atresia has meant a childhood very different from her peers. Hospital visits and exams replaced normal childhood activities, and she was focused on battling her critical illness. When presented the opportunity to have her one-true-wish granted, Nicole knew she wanted this once-in-a-lifetime adventure to be something special and meaningful to her. Nicole thought long and hard about her wish, coming up with fantastical ideas from seeing the Northern lights to bioluminescent plankton. After careful consideration (which took close to a year!), Nicole decided her wish was to swim with whale sharks and turtles, and to see a

variety of fish and marine life. Her guiding principle - the rarer the species, the better!

 

Once she had chosen her wish, each day passed with giddy anticipation of the amazing adventure that was to come! Suddenly, Nicole’s focus was not on her illness, but rather on her upcoming wish.Wish anticipation is one of the key stages of the whole wish journey, so in the time leading up to her wish, Nicole was sent little surprises to keep her excited while counting down the days. She made a paper crab, solved puzzles and even received turtle lights!

 

 

 

 

Living the adventure

Nicole’s wish had a packed itinerary. They landed in Cebu, where they were greeted by a group of volunteers with balloons and a welcome box filled with snacks and refreshments to accompany them on their 3-hour car ride to Blue Orchid Resort. This is where the family got to go on a sardine run, waterfall trip, swim with turtles and have a private barbeque on the beach!

 

Next, Nicole was off to Whale Shark Resort Oslob where they were welcomed with flowers, balloons and photos taken from the previous resort! Accompanied by their very own personal photographer and drone, Nicole got to swim with the magnificent whale sharks. It truly was a wish-come-true with Nicole meeting whale sharks, jellyfish, angelfish, sea urchins, starfish, blue fish, sea turtles, clown fish, dolphins and the sardines.

 

 

 

 

The adventure of a lifetime

Nicole could not stop smiling through her whole experience, and that smile will stay with her forever. During her adventure, Nicole was purely in the moment, and her illness was far from her mind. Upon her return, Nicole felt empowered with a new confidence and renewed strength to continue her battle against her illness. A wish does not just last a moment. It is the beginning of a new journey towards optimism, bravery and courage in the fight against a child's battle with a critical illness. Thank you to all who helped make Nicole’s amazing, adventurous wish come true!