After a warm Hawaiian greeting at the airport, with leis around our necks, we hopped in a Jeep Wrangler and road off into the... afternoon!? It was only about 2 p.m. Whereas at home, it was going on 8 o’clock, right around the time my old-fart parents would be thinking about settling down for the night. So, adjusting to Hawaiian time was a bit of a challenge! By the time we sat down to have dinner at the hotel it was about 1 a.m. at home. Nevertheless we smashed the urge to go straight to bed after 4 plates of prime rib and Mahi Mahi (I’ve never felt so spoiled!), and took a nice long walk down the beach, exploring what would be our new tropical home for the week. As we did, I felt an overwhelming sense of gratitude and new beginnings. After all that my family has been through, here we were healthy and happy, able to come to terms with every moment, good and bad, that led up to this moment and then put the past behind us, take a breath of fresh tropical air and begin to live again. This monumental moment of tranquility and healing would not exist without those who gave. Be it the Make-A-Wish faculty and their wish coordination, the volunteers who gave their time and met with us to brainstorm ideas and plan the trip, those who donated frequent fliers miles, money, or other resources to make wishes come true, I say thank you from the bottom of my heart. This is not just an organization that provides cool things for kids in unfortunate situations... it’s so much more. I can attest first hand, that it is a program that hand delivers living hope.
The heartbreaking thing is that there are so many more kids with critical illnesses who could benefit from and yet may not get an opportunity such as this one, when only one in two wishes from our area are actually granted. I feel blessed for my gracious gift and will continue to hope and pray that those who are able, will continue to give and those who deserve will continue to receive. My trip is one of restoration, reflection and healing. But after the life-changing experience I have received just two short days into our get-away I see the potential it could have for a family who is right in the of a crisis situation, and the impact it could have on a child’s physical and emotional well-being. I have been inspired by a cause that is worth it... so much so, that I hope that one day I will have the means to become the giver.