ALYSHA WILSON wants to give her brother a chance to live.
From birth, Wilson, 23, was close to her brother Akil, who is a year older.
When he fell ill and needed a second liver transplant Wilson didn't hesitate to volunteer to give her brother a second chance at life by giving him part of her own liver. She is hoping medical tests will show she is a perfect match, and later this year enough funds will be raised for the surgery so he can travel by air ambulance either to India or Argentina.
“He is the strongest person I know. For someone who lives on medication and restricted in so many ways, he has so much strength and motivates me every day,” Wilson said in an interview after being crowned Miss Point Fortin Carnival Queen on February 8.
A political science student at the University of the West Indies (UWI), St Augustine, doing a minor in international relations, Wilson is one of four children and the only daughter of her parents, Dean and Sharon Wilson of Point Fortin. She has two younger brothers, Alan and Alessandro.
Wilson exuded poise onstage at the Egypt Government Primary School on the night of the pageant, masking the turmoil inside her, knowing Akil was hospitalised at Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex, Mt Hope.
She won not only the title but most of the special prizes and automatically qualified to compete with delegates from 65 countries in the Miss Sea Beauty International pageant scheduled for November 30 in Barranquilla, Colombia.
Just before she took the stage, she read a message from Akil, who was unable to see her win her first of what she hopes will be many crowns. She dedicated her victory to him.
“Some of my friends came down from the East-West Corridor, a friend flew in from Barbados, and I cried because I got the sweetest message from my brother, who is at hospital and not doing so well.”
He wrote via WhatsApp, “I ain’t get to come yuh show but ah hear when ah Wilson touch in the place is niceness woiii,” accompanied by smiley faces and hearts.
After her victory he sent more messages.
“Rel happy for you proud of yuh too and to be your bro. Glad yu win. You deserved it...Pass tru with a cepep broom too cuz yuh sweep the place,” he said. He was referring to the many special prizes she won, including those for Miss Intelligence, displaying the best Carnival Spirit (in a costume from Legacy), Best Gown (designed by Zadd and Eastman), Best Swimwear designed by Rainhaswin, Miss Elegant and People’s Choice.
“But yea just proud and glad for you and you gon do the same on a higher scale, no doubt in my mind. Ask the lord to continue to bless and keep you strong and safe through everything. Love you sis.”
She said Akil had his first liver transplant 14 years ago. At that time, he was on life support and had to be flown to Argentina by air ambulance. Recently he got jaundice, and now needs a second transplant to survive.
She can’t wait for him to get better so he can pursue some of his lifelong dreams.
“He got accepted to the University of the West Indies (UWI) to do sports management, because he can’t play contact sports. But he can’t go to school either because of his illness. Yet he still has so much faith,” she said, thanking her parents for their spirituality and keeping them grounded.
“He does not let anything stop him. He does everything like a regular person.”
Wilson said she has always dreamed of representing TT on an international level and this win is a stepping-stone to that journey. Getting her degree to be an effective and efficient representative is her focus now.
“As far as I can remember, I always want to be a Miss TT, to be an ambassador for my country.”
Hoping to find a balance between her dreams and education, five years ago she became a runway model, doing a few charity shows and working with local photographers and designers.
Her first foray into beauty competitions was Miss UWIVerse, which made it easier to say yes when she was approached to enter the Miss Point Fortin Carnival Queen competition.
With the medical tests she is expected to undergo, and pageant in Colombia in the middle of the semester, Wilson knows 2020 is going to be a hectic but amazing year.
As a long-term career she wants become a public defender and do global studies in her pursuit of being an ambassador on a global platform.
“I don’t know where that may take me, but I am open to opportunities,” she said.