Jimmy wished to go to Turks and Caicos because he wanted to visit a beautiful place where he and his family could enjoy the sand and warm weather. More than anything, Jimmy wanted to give something back to his entire family after they had been by his side through eight rounds of chemotherapy.
“I felt like my cancer journey was actually harder for my family than it was for me, so I really just wanted to do something for them that would bring us all together again in good health,” Jimmy told us recently. Jimmy requested that his wish be held off until he fully recovered from his illness. Even after his last round of chemotherapy, he needed three more surgeries because his immune system was so weak.
By the time his wish trip did happen, Jimmy was feeling much better. “It really gave me something to look forward to during treatment,” Jimmy said. He said it also gave him something to think about besides being sick.
A Connection is Made
Naturally, his family’s anticipation for paradise was clear to anyone onboard their JetBlue wish flight. Crewmember Joanne DeLessio was especially drawn to Jimmy and his family. As soon as she learned he was a wish kid, she said she was “floored with excitement.” Jimmy was the first wish kid Joanne had met in flight.
Jimmy offered Joanne a glimpse into a photo journal that documented his cancer journey. Joanne paged through the journal, embracing the deep significance of this flight for Jimmy and his family.
“The photos didn’t only tell the story of Jimmy’s battle,” Joanne said. “It was his whole family’s battle. He had surgery on Thanksgiving, and I saw photos of his whole family surrounding him, rallying around him over the holidays, during what is such an emotional time of year already.
“This family had a reason to celebrate.”
‘A New Chapter’
Once in Turks and Caicos, Jimmy said his family was able to look at the future as a clean slate. “When my wish happened, my family was like, now let's move on and start a new chapter to a healthy life. I think everyone felt that,” Jimmy said. Thanks to his wish granters, Jimmy’s weeklong stay in Turks and Caicos was full of surprises for everyone – from ATVs to horseback rides on the beach to flyboarding. “It was one amazing trip that I’ll never forget,” Jimmy said.
What made his trip even more memorable was that Joanne recruited JetBlue crewmembers on Jimmy’s return flight to give him an especially warm experience as he headed back home. She even surprised Jimmy at his home airport with other JetBlue employees and “Welcome Home” posters.
“Joanne made a huge difference in my life and put a huge smile on my face,” Jimmy said.
Today, Jimmy and Joanne keep in touch and visit each other regularly. Jimmy even sent a T-shirt to Joanne that displays his personal mantra:
“Nobody fights alone.”
Jimmy has been cancer-free since April 2015. This past winter, he was an intern at Make-A-Wish® Hudson Valley, the chapter that granted his wish. He says he wanted to do whatever he could to give back to an organization that has given him so much.
Donate Your TrueBlue Points Today!
Jimmy was able to travel for his wish via JetBlue, thanks to generous point donations from JetBlue travelers like you. For the entire month of July, JetBlue will air this Make-A-Wish in-flight video on the airline’s 1,000 daily flights. The video features Jimmy and Joanne and invites JetBlue customers to donate their TrueBlue Points to Make-A-Wish. JetBlue will match donations up to 1 million points. Visit jetblue.com/donate to learn more.