Teenage cancer patient treated to dream birthday getaway in Sarasota

Like most 14-year-old girls, Sarahi Ascencio wanted to eat cake and hang out on her birthday. But, unlike most 14-year-old girls, Sarahi is battling a cancer with a five-year survival rate.

Lumbo-sacral osteosarcoma has consumed the Ascencio family’s mind for the last two and a half years. That’s why on this birthday, Sarahi wanted nothing more than to spend it with them.

A wish foundation in South Florida planned a weekend getaway in Sarasota, including a trip to Mote Marine Aquarium Saturday. On Sunday, it was a picnic on Lido Key Beach.

Jessica Chapman, who runs Sarasota Al Fresco, a pop-up picnic company in Sarasota, knew she could make it happen.

“That’s exactly what this is made for – for a family to get together, to share good conversations, to plop down, enjoy this amazing environment and each other,” Chapman said. “We wanted her to feel like she was just having the best weekend of her life.”

And because every teenager loves to get glammed up, Chapman enlisted the help of her friend, who owns a boutique.

“We had beauty bar come in and do her make-up for her, and we allowed her to shop through the store and pick out whatever gravitated to her,” said Courtney Edbrooke.

While eating birthday cake, her family taking the time to share what they loved most about her. Her mother, through tears, simply said, everything. Sarahi says that’s what her family means to her.

And simple moments like these, get her through the hardest days.

“It’s been really hard,” she said. “The only thing to do about it is have faith, strength, and a positive mind.”