Wish children have a strength that many of us can't even fathom. Wish kid Camron is no different. When she was diagnosed with cancer at 14, she realized that every moment in life should be cherished and decided to take hold of her ultimate dream. Passionate about marine life, Camron wished to come to Hawaii to visit the Marine Biology department at the University of Hawaii at Manoa.
In 2014, Camron missed half a year of school to cancer treatments. Instead of staying in bed and letting her condition overcome her, she fought back with fire for her future. She made a game plan of what her life was going to be, even with this life-threatening burden. Dreaming of her prospective life, she finished her grade with “Student of the Year” in one of her classes and “Student of the Month” for her grade! To end a triumphant school year, her wish was granted to visit Hawaii and tour the UH Manoa Marine Biology program.
Camron loves the ocean. Her interest in aquatic life sparked a desire to meet a marine biologist and get acquainted with the field. By coming to Hawaii, she hoped to get up close with sea creatures and learn more about the degree program at the Manoa campus.
This wasn’t your average college tour. A huge crowd of UH Manoa students, athletes, and staff gave her a warm welcome, cheering her name and waving signs. The energy of the crowd lifted Camron's spirits and was a true display of the aloha spirit unique to Hawaii. After being officially greeted in with an oli (Hawaiian chant), UH Chancellor, Robert Bley-Vroman, and Vice Chancellor, Lori Ideta, gave her an honorary admission certificate. Camron could hardly believe that she held her future right there in her hands.
Visiting the student lounge, fitness center, and the cafeteria, everyone greeted her with aloha and offered sweet gifts along the way. The Marine Biology department gave her another grand welcome with an enormous banner and a cheering crowd upon her entrance into the building. The students and staff were all inspired by her passion for life and wanted to make the experience one she would never forget. One staff member even said that in all his years at the University of Hawaii, this experience was the most memorable and impactful.
The fun continued the next day at Coconut Island, the location of University of Hawaii's Marine Biology Research Institute. The island was renamed Camron Island for the day. Once there, she got to feed sharks and explore their touch tanks with all the smaller sea creatures and snorkel in their private lagoon. The gang finished their exhilarating day off with lunch at a private cabana.
Camron never let her condition hold her back. She didn’t allow herself to be confined and limited by cancer, instead she continues to fight for her dreams. She says that patients like her “should do whatever they can to live life,” inspiring all of us to value each moment and to always reach for the stars no matter what challenge we may be facing.
Special Thanks: University of Hawaii at Manoa, Shawn Saito, UH Chancellor Robert Bley-Vroman, Dr. Lori Ideta, UH Football Team, Snorkel Bobs (Joan Lloyd), Snorkel Bobs (Joan Lloyd), Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology, Sal Pagliaro, Mark Heckman, Don Brown, Casey, Leon, Ryan Yamaguchi, Abigail Huliganga, Jan Taniguchi, Roxie Shabazz, Stephanie Kraft-Terry, Dyan Kleckner, Arlene Abiang, Miles Hakoda, Kelli Trifonovitch, Dean Howard, Bonnyjean Manini, Donna Ojiri, Michael Kaptik, Marilynn Moniz-Kahoohanohano, Lee Nakamoto, Josemiguel Magno, Godwin, Jodi Chee, Clifton Tanabe, Sheraton, Enterprise, Leis of Hawaii, Atlantis Submarines & Hanauma Bay.