As 7-year-old Ava watched her favorite movie, Moana, over and over, she became fascinated with Hawaiian culture. Through all the appointments, treatments, and tests that had come with her leukemia diagnosis, Ava dreamed of visiting an island like Moana's...of seeing the clear blue ocean for herself and dancing hula in the sand. Ava's wish came true, giving her the hope and strength to keep fighting.
When wish child Ava was 3.5 years old, her family had just moved into a new home and was looking forward to creating fun memories together. What they were not expecting, just a day after moving in, was for Ava to lose the ability to walk and to have her spend the next six weeks in the hospital. An MRI confirmed the diagnosis of a rare and aggressive form of cancer (acute lymphoblastic leukemia). Their lives were flipped upside down.
During this difficult time, Ava was referred to Make-A-Wish. Volunteer wish granters soon visited her to bring her some joy and happiness and, most importantly, help grant her most heartfelt wish! Ava soon shared that she wanted her wish was to be to learn how to hula dance in Hawaii!
From the start of the wish experience, the family knew the wish was going to be unforgettable when a big luxury bus showed up at the house to pick up Ava, her brother Jack, and their parents.
Upon arrival at the Waikiki Sheridan, Ava, Jack, were given an amazing gift when each was handed a bag and told they could fill them with whatever they wanted from the gift shop. The kids thought this was the best thing ever!
While in Hawaii, Mom says it was amazing for Ava to “walk, laugh, and have the color back in her face.”
On the beautiful beach of Waikiki, Ava learned how to hula dance by a real hula dancer while Jack spent his day building sandcastles in the sand. Later that evening, Ava and her family felt like royal guests with front-row seats to an amazing luau. Ava really became part of the show upon being honored with a crown of flowers to wear!
Ava’s mom feels it was a “truly special night as Ava and her brother ran around and danced together … they had a ball.”
Since Ava’s wish, she’s ready to move past cancer and put it all behind her. However, the wish is something Ava and her family will never forget as it helped bring fun memories they could share as a family - together!
Mahalo to our friends at Make-A-Wish Hawaii who assisted us on granting this wish including their intern Giselle for sharing the aloha spirit with Ava and fulfilling her wish. Together, they helped us grant our chapter's 2,800th wish!