by Elizabeth Chan | staff writer
This year at Anime Expo 2013 we had a very special guest who came to visit the convention through the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Cenia is a 16 year old from Springdale, Arkansas who was diagnosed last year with a heart condition. On Day 4 Inside AX got a chance to sit down with her and her family to ask about her story, how she enjoyed her stay at Anime Expo, and some of the activities that she did at the convention.
Inside AX: How did you get involved with Make-A-Wish?
Cenia: I got involved with Make-A-Wish because my heart condition was getting worse. I was 15 and about to turn 16 and it was when I was in the hospital. I was shocked because it was almost my birthday. It was close to it because it was almost July 13th. My birthday is on July 13th.
IAX: Oh wow. Well, happy birthday since I’m not going to see you then.
Cenia: (laugh) Well, I’m going to turn 17 then because it’s coming up.
IAX: What sorts of things do you like to do?
Cenia: I like to read books, draw, and I like to play on my computer.
IAX: Since when did you like anime?
Cenia: I started to like anime when I was in 5th grade.
IAX: What was the first anime you watched?
Cenia: I was on Youtube and the first time I saw anime it was Sailor Moon. I didn’t know what kind of show it was, but when I started to watch it I sort of got into it.
IAX: Nice! Which one was your favorite Scout?
IAX: What is your favorite thing about Serena?
Cenia: She’s funny, very klutzy, and she’s very caring of her friends.
IAX: What made you want to come to Anime Expo?
Cenia: Because I’ve to I’ve never been to an anime festival and because I like anime stuff. I didn’t even know I was coming here.
IAX: How did you find out that you were coming here?
Cenia: I found out I was coming here at the radio station.
IAX: Oh, at a radio station?
Cenia’s Mom: Yes, she had a revealing party at a radio station on a morning show. They made a tour where they were going to show her the radio station and how it worked, and they were like “Oh do you want to make the radio work?” ”Yeah.” So she put on the button, and it went “This is not a tour. This is a fake tour. We are going to tell you that you are going to Los Angeles for an anime convention!”
IAX: Wow! That’s really cool! How did you react?
Cenia: I was shocked.
IAX: When did they tell you?
Cenia’s Mom: They told us on the first of July.
IAX: Wow, so that was a really spontaneous trip! So how have you enjoyed the convention?
Cenia: It’s pretty cool. I like seeing people and there’s a lot of costumes.
IAX: Ah, so you like looking at the cosplay. Did you dress up?
Cenia: Yes, on the first day, but I don’t know what character it was. My Mom bought it for me. It was a little bit too big though and it was black, so it was too hot.
IAX: Do you have a favorite part of your visit?
Cenia: My favorite part of the visit is seeing a lot of stuff. There’s so many things to see. I got to take pictures with everyone at the Maid Cafe. They all did a dance and everyone gave me flowers.
IAX: Did you get to meet any guests?
Cenia: Porno Graffitti. I got to take pictures with them. I also met Alodia and Eric Vale.
IAX: Do you have a favorite?
Cenia: My favorite was the one who played Sanji on One Piece (Eric Vale). I got an autograph.
IAX: Are there any new anime that you think you want to watch when you go home?
Cenia: Yeah. I want to watch One Piece.
IAX: What is it you like about One Piece?
Cenia: It’s so cool and I like Luffy because he’s funny.
IAX: Did you get to watch anything while you were here?
Cenia: I got to see Blue Exorcist.
IAX: Nice! Was there anything else that you got to do?
Cenia: I went to the Manga Lounge and I read a lot. I read Honey Hunt and 3 or 4 others. I also got some samurai drawings, some hairpins, some manga, and a Super GALS! DVD.
IAX: That’s great! That’s a really funny one, so I think you’ll like it! The theme song is really fun to sing too!
IAX: Well, thank you so much! We hope that you really enjoyed your stay here and even though there’s only a couple of hours left, I hope that you really had fun. It was really nice to meet you!
Cenia: Thank you.
Special thanks also goes out to the Concierge staff that were escorting Cenia and her family for helping to make the interview possible and for their hard work in making her time at the convention special.
Update: We were recently informed that our special guest, Cenia, has recently passed away. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family and we wish them the best. We are really overjoyed and honored that she got to spend her time with us at Anime Expo and that she was able to experience the event as her last wish.
Please click here for a note about our special guest’s visit from our Board of Directors.