She is a Miami teenager with an incredible story. She had a dream, but her dream came in a bottle. On Monday, she was at Florida Hospital hoping to inspire other children.
"Ever since I was a little girl, I wanted to be a diplomat," 16-year-old Aviselle Diaz told the children at Florida Hospital.
Diaz's aspiration could only carry her so far, and especially couldn't bring her across the globe to a prestigious program. She just couldn't afford it, so the student decided to write down her wish in 100 embellished bottles, toss it into the Miami waters, and let the waves essentially guide her fate.
"A few weeks passed and four people contacted me saying they found the bottle," Diaz said.
People who were moved by her story began donating after someone contacted the Miami Herald, publicizing her story,
At Florida Hospital, 5-year-old Ryan Episcopo's wishes may not be so practical. He wants to fly, breathe underwater, get everything he wants.
Among the tiles, paint, and bottles are saline bags, wheelchairs, IVs. The children's real wishes are simple: to feel better.
"He was born with some issues on his stomach wall area, so he's had a lot of surgeries," said Mark Episcopo, father of 5-year-old Ryan.
"I think it takes his mind off things, plus he's been a little anxious about the needles, the tests."
In fact, just after the session of arts and crafts, Ryan will go in for an MRI.
In the meantime, Ryan's mind wanders beyond the sterile white walls, and so do the minds of the other children.
Aviselle's wish now is to inspire them that dreams, even when in a bottle, can become reality.
"They need this message more than ever; it's a way of saying you can do it, I was able to do it and so can you," she said.