8-year-old Emily has a strong desire to travel the world like one of her favorite Disney characters, Moana. Emily has been batting a condition that affects her bone marrow and at a young age her condition became life-threatening. She was in need of a bone barrow transplant. During this time she had been staying strong and hoping to one day meet her favorite Disney Princess. It was no surprise that when presented with the opportunity to have a wish, she wanted to go to Hawaii and meet Moana in person!
Emily and her family packed their bags and set off for their Hawaiian adventure that began with checking into to Disney’s Aulani Resort & Spa. When Emily and her family arrived in Kapolei, Hawaii, they were given a traditional Hawaiian greeting and each received a fresh Island lei, which is a symbol of hospitality, love, respect, and aloha.
After settling into their enchanting resort, Emily set off to explore all of the exciting activities that the resort provided. The resort included: pools, lazy river, waterslides, Aunty’s Beach House kids club, and resort dining. After enjoying the many amenities of the hotel, Emily’s true wish was about to finally come true. She received a private character Meet & Greet with non-other than her favorite Disney Princess, Moana. “Moana took extra time to take tons of pictures and tell funny stories with Emily, truly making her feel like a princess,” stated Emily’s mother, Stacy. The smile on her face was clear, her one true wish had come true.
Emily and her family finished off the wish trip by visiting the Rainbow Reef located at Aulani Disney Resort & Spa. Emily put on her snorkeling gear, and took a swim in the saltwater lagoon where she explored the thousands of tropical fish that lived in the reef, just like Moana! This trip was filled with mesmerizing island views, beautiful native species, and exciting activities.
Emily’s wish will continue to have a positive impact on her life as she looks back on the fun she had in Hawaii and how magical it was to meet the Princess she looks up to. “It’s even more than the one wish, it’s the feeling of ‘normal’ again,” said Stacy, “Emily actually forgot about her transplant for the first time in over a year.” There have been several research studies done, such as the 2015 Israel Wish Impact Study, which shows that the wish experience can lead to increased physical and mental health in children diagnosed with critical illnesses.
Emily will continue to get stronger both mentally and physically with renewed strength derived from the hope and joy the wish experience brought to her and her family. A wish is more than a nice thing, a wish brings joy to critically ill children that gives them an edge in conquering their illnesses. You can help transform the lives of children like Emily. Learn how by visiting cnfl.wish.org.