EDITOR’S NOTE: The Reindeer Gang is an annual holiday feature that identifies individuals and families with needs. Donations to Amia Washington can be made through the Rescue Mission of Middle Georgia, 774 Hazel St., Macon, GA 31201. (478-743-5445)
Amia Washington has never been to Disney World.
She has never seen Cinderella’s Castle or climbed aboard the Pirates of the Caribbean. She has never had “It’s a Small World” ringing in her ears after a trip through the theme park.
But she has always dreamed about it.
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“She loves Mickey Mouse,” said her mother, Brandy Harris.
No, Amia hasn’t been to Orlando, Florida, or much of anywhere, for that matter.
“Our family has never been on vacation,” Harris said. “We’ve always wanted to go, but we’ve never been able to afford it.”
Amia, 14, has spent much of the past five years in and out of hospitals. She has a colostomy bag and had gall bladder surgery. She is facing additional surgery to have her colon removed. She was in the hospital for 10 days before Thanksgiving.
She has such a wide range of medical issues that her mother said “there is no one word for all of it.”
Amia is in the seventh grade. Because of her illnesses, she receives home-bound tutoring. At Warner Robins Middle School, she once played softball, basketball and soccer.
“She cried the other day and said she just wants to feel like a normal teenager, to go back to school and have fun,” Harris said.
For the past six months, Amia and her mom have been residents at the Rescue Mission of Middle Georgia’s Dove Center, a residential program for female victims of domestic violence and their children.
Harris said she had to move out of her home in Warner Robins.
“I didn’t have anywhere to go,” she said. “I hit rock bottom and was tired of my life.”
She called the Crisis Line in Warner Robins and was referred to Dawn Burns, director of the Dove Center at The Rescue Mission of Middle Georgia (formerly the Macon Rescue Mission).
“This was more than just a shelter,” Harris said. “It has been a chance to work on myself and spiritual healing.”
She was accepted into the six-month program June 10, so she will have completed it on Dec. 10. She is scheduled to graduate in January and plans to return to Central Georgia Tech to work on a degree as a diagnostic medical sonographer.
But, for now, she is hopeful Amia will regain her health and the two of them are able to take a trip to Disney World through the generosity of readers of The Reindeer Gang.