ATLANTA - Aliyah says her goal is to try and live the best life she can, no matter what she faces.
She doesn’t only appreciate beauty, she has a gift within her to create and share it as well.
That gift has been unwrapped through a long and painful process.
Her mom, Sonsiray said, “It’s been going on more than two years now since they told us she had cancer.”
There have been so many treatments and a surgery to remove part of her leg.
“At that point, our lives changed forever,” her mom said.
So, a day to feel beautiful, pampered and experience joy with her mom and friends is no small thing.
A stretch limo pulls up to Aliyah’s house. It is a fitting ride for a young lady who is decked out in a gorgeous new dress, a gift that was sent to her home for this special day.
She rides in the limo with her mom and some friends and family. They pull into Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.
Aliyah walks through the doors in a way that she never has before.
She can hear the cheers before the glass doors slide open to reveal a tunnel of support and love waiting for her.
It is a group of nurses, doctors and other care givers who are gathered with her friends to surprise Aliyah. There is a receiving line of hugs.
“I feel so loved.” Aliyah smiles.
She suddenly sees just how much it’s meant to others that she hasn’t kept her talents to create beauty to herself. “Wow!” She exclaims. “I wasn’t expecting this at all!”
Her hospital family has decided that an artist, so accomplished at 17 years old, deserves a full exhibit. In displaying her beloved paintings, they are making Aliya’s dream come true.
Aliyah started painting when she was fighting her cancer. She said, “It was a way for me to turn my negative thoughts and energy into positive paintings for everyone else.”
She battled back with vibrant color and hopeful strokes. The paintings show flowers in bloom, friends in their happy places and statements of positivity like “choose happy.”
Caroline is a resident artist at CHOA. She helped Aliyah find her painting voice. She said, “Aliyah has this amazing vision and the love for the people around her and you can see that in her paintings.”
A paintbrush was Aliyah’s weapon of choice to fight for friends who were too sick to pick up a paintbrush themselves. Like Grant, who was six years old and loved Spiderman. Not long ago, Grant spun his final web to heaven.
That is what Aliyah’s painting shows. A little boy in his full Spiderman costume is sitting on a cloud. With his right hand, he has spun a web to lasso a cloud above him. His mom and dad can’t even explain all that this means to them.
“I just had to do one for you guys…” Aliyah said. They hug her with a mixture of smiles and tears.
The portrait of Grant is in the center of the new exhibit.
“I wanted them to know that they have inspired me and shown me that no matter what, you can get through it.” Aliyah said.
Her nurses say she is a role model for kids on how to have a positive spirit through so many obstacles. She is an example how to keep joy and hope working in times that can feel anything but.
On a day filled with surprises, there is one more for the young lady who is always thinking of everyone else.
She travels into a tunnel of the hospital to another greeting line of love. Behind a purple curtain she find her a self-portrait. Her artwork will now hang in the hospital forever, so the beauty Aliyah’s created will always be shared with other children who need it.
Aliyah Dees is Brave Conquers Fear.
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