As 17-year-old Jamea walked the red carpet, flanked by her family and the volunteers who had recently become family, she began to cry. Her eyes grew wide as she saw her name next to the word “Broadway.” She took a seat, looked at the sea of Macy’s and Make-A-Wish employees and volunteers surrounding her, roses in hand, and listened as of her favorite songs, “My Shot,” filled the store. A special performance, complete with dancers and an actor playing Alexander Hamilton began to unfold. This was the moment she knew her life was going to change.
Jamea has loved art, dance, and musical theater for years. Her favorite musical is the Tony-award winning Hamilton, and she can recite the lyrics to its songs by heart, getting lost in the music as she sings along. Battling lymphoma, Jamea turned to her love of Hamilton as an escape—something positive amidst the challenges of coping with a critical illness while still in high school. She dreamed of traveling to New York City for the first time to take in the sights, explore the culture, and, of course, see her favorite musical on Broadway.
As the sounds of “My Shot” began to fade, Make-A-Wish Hawaii President and CEO Trini Kaopuiki Clark and Macy’s Ala Moana General Manager Demmis Cisneros approached Jamea with a large boarding pass and a special announcement: her wish was coming true! Jamea and her family would soon be on their way to New York City to see Hamilton in person.
Jamea’s wish reveal helped celebrate the Macy’s Believe campaign, which has raised more than $19 million since 2003 and has helped grant more than 14,500 wishes nationwide for children like her. This year, select Macy’s throughout the country, including Macy’s Ala Moana, celebrated Macy’s Believe with live Wish Wednesday wish reveals each Wednesday from November 6 to December 11.
In addition to their support of the Believe campaign and Make-A-Wish, Macy’s Ala Moana also generously presented Jamea with a selection of red dresses to choose from so she could attend Hamilton in style.
Jamea’s mother Charmaine was in awe, particularly of all those who had gathered to celebrate her daughter.
“Make-A-Wish is amazing,” Jamea told Central Oahu Voice after her wish reveal. “The generous stuff that they do for kids like me…really shines a light in the dark times.”
Soon, Jamea and her family were off to New York, where they not only saw Hamilton but even had the opportunity to meet some of the cast and ask the stage manager questions.
Said Charmaine of the entire wish journey, “It showed Jamea that there is so much to look forward to in the future, and we were so grateful to have been able to meet some amazing people along the way.”
Make-A-Wish Hawaii would like to thank our friends at Macy’s Ala Moana, and Macy’s locations across Hawaii, for their continued partnership in making life-changing wishes like Jamea’s come true.