Strumming quietly on her guitar, Alayja smiles to herself. “It’s very soothing when I play,” says the 15-year-old. Thanks to Make-A-Wish® Massachusetts and Rhode Island supporters, Alayja has her very own acoustic guitar, which she received for her wish!
Alayja’s love of music was nurtured by her aunt, Chantel. In addition to her new guitar, Alayja plays the ukulele and piano. Creative by nature, she also enjoys singing and art. She draws inspiration from family time, animals, and being outdoors.
After experiencing ongoing pain and weight loss, Alayja was diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma at age 13. After a long year of chemotherapy, she now has ongoing check-ups and scans. “It has been a very stressful and emotional rollercoaster,” explains Chantel. “A nurse at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute referred her for a wish, and Alayja was very excited.”
Alayja’s wish included lessons at Guitar Center Boston, which were moved online this spring. “It’s been so fun learning chords and bits of songs," she says.
“Alayja enjoyed being at Guitar Center with the lovely staff, and we were so happy her lessons could continue virtually,” observes Chantel. “Through her wish, she is happier than before, and part of this is her being able to expand her circle of people. It’s breathtaking to see her connect with others, especially through music, and learning something new each lesson.”
“Music helps me in a way that I can express my feelings and stay calm,” says Alayja, who continues to practice daily.
Chantel adds, “We thank Make-A-Wish Massachusetts and Rhode Island for what you do. Your supporters have a good heart to help Alayja and other children in similar situations and impact their lives...It’s beautiful. Thank you!”