WASHINGTON D.C – Thirteen year old Hunter has always dreamed of visiting Hawaii, and thanks to Kids Wish Network, he got his chance this month – just in time to celebrate his 14th birthday!
Shortly after he was born, Hunter was diagnosed with severe hemophilia A, a bleeding disorder that has left him dependent on IVs to prevent internal bleeding. After hearing about Kids Wish Network from a nurse at Children’s National Medical Center, the hospital where Hunter was being treated, Julie contacted them to determine if Hunter was eligible for a wish. Once it was determined that Hunter qualified, preparations began to fulfill one of his dreams – a trip to Hawaii to learn how to surf! His wish coordinator, Jill, contacted the family to discuss arrangements and help out any way she could to make sure Hunter had the trip of a lifetime!
Hunter and his Ohana (family) departed the nation’s capitol and began the trip across country to the Aloha State. “The flights were amazing and so easy. We got booked in economy plus so it gave us a little bit more room,” Julie said. Kids Wish Network arranged for the family to stay at the luxurious Sheraton Waikiki in downtown Honolulu. “The suite they provided was unbelievable! There was water on all three sides of the room and everyday at 4 p.m., we got to see sea turtles!” While on the island, Kids Wish Network arranged activities that ranged from whale watching to snorkeling. But what trip to Hawaii would be complete without attending an authentic Hawaiian luau? Hunter and his family attended Germaine’s Luau and felt the ‘Spirit of Aloha’. They were entertained by hula and fire dancers, and even participated themselves! They enjoyed a variety of local and traditional foods but “couldn’t bring ourselves to try the long rice”. Kids Wish Network also arranged for the family to take a personal tour of the USS Arizona Memorial on Pearl Harbor, one of Hawaii’s most historic tourist attractions. “It was one of the most amazing tours! Our tour guide was former military and very knowledgeable,” Julie said. To celebrate his 14th birthday, Kids Wish Network arranged for Hunter to receive personal surfing lessons and have a celebration dinner at Atlantis Seafood and Steak. “Hunter got to hold a real lobster. What better way to spend his birthday. It doesn’t get much better than this and this is something he will never forget!” Julie said.
Back in D.C, the family is getting back to the “daily grind” but the trip isn’t far from their minds. “It was great to have a family vacation with just my immediate family,” Julie said. “The trip was amazing and everyone had a great time!” Julie said she can’t thank Kids Wish Network for putting together such a great combination of stuff to do. “Everything was amazing, simply amazing.”
Kids Wish Network would like to thank the following for helping to make Hunter’s wish extra special: U.S.S Arizona Memorial, Sheraton Waikiki, Haleiwa Joes, Germaine’s Luau, Hans Hedemann Surf School, Hanauma Bay, Hapa Grill, Alamo Rental, Pearl Harbor Memorial, North Shore Catamaran Charters, Snorkel Bob’s, Boom Boom Sportfishing, Atlantis Seafood & Steak and Kona Brewing Company.
Kids Wish Network is a nationally recognized non-profit organization dedicated to infusing hope, creating happy memories, and improving the quality of life for children. If you know a child between the ages of 3 and 18 who may be in need of its wish granting services, please call 727-937-3600 or toll free 888-918-9004. For more information on Kids Wish Network, visit their website at www.kidswishnetwork.org