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Soul Sisters, JayJay and Tori, Paint in Paradise

  • JayJay painting her very own ukulele donated by Kanilea Ukulele. Photos courtesy of Darcy Fiero.

  • Paint colors galore!

  • There's nothing as relaxing as painting on the beach.

  • JayJay's Hawaiian themed artwork to always remember her wish in paradise!

  • Upon meeting, Colleen Wilcox gave JayJay one of her art pieces.

  • Colleen Wilcox and JayJay!

  • Enjoying Cromwell's beach on the east side of Oahu.

  • Starting the painting lesson with tips from the pro.

  • Bright colors for a bright day.

  • JayJay and her best friend, Tori, painting away.

“ Witnessing JayJay's wish really reminded me of how important friendship is. JayJay and Tori supported each other through valley's I've never had to endure. ”


- Ku'u, Make-A-Wish Hawaii Communications Intern

Uncomfortable beds. IVs. Vending machines. This is what we imagine when we think of a hospital. It can seem dreary and lonely when you’re in it, but not for JayJay. Even though her days were spent in a hospital room, that is where she met her best friend Tori and started on her wish to paint on a beach in Hawaii.

The sun was beaming and the water was clear at Cromwell’s. Ku’u, our Communications Intern, was waiting for JayJay to arrive, so she could start documenting her wish to paint on a beach. Phone charged and social media apps logged in, she knew it was the perfect day to spend on the beach and capture a wish. The picturesque scene of rolling waves and Kahala cliffs were ready to inspire the artists she was waiting for.

After a couple of minutes, JayJay arrived arm in arm with her best friend Tori. The girls were the epitome of cool with their wayfarer sunnies and bright colored hair. JayJay’s mom Vanessa and grandmother Debra weren’t far behind, catching up with the eager girls to make this wish day come true. Ku’u smiled and knew immediately that this was going to be a great group to hang with on this beautiful day.

The teens went right into their introductions, telling Ku’u that they were in a band together and actually met in the hospital. The intern was inspired by how close they were and how much brighter JayJay’s situation was because she had a friend. Going through the same kind of treatments and lifestyle, the girls were able to rely on each other and create a bond unique to children who battle illnesses. That fight seems a lot less heavy when you have friends and family at your side, Ku’u confirmed, as she smiled at the girls as they girl talked about their life to her.

“More like soul sisters really,” JayJay chimed, as she explained how close the girls really were.

The girls were gifted brand new ukuleles, which they painted with donated supplies from Hawaiian Graphics. JayJay painted tropical flowers to encapsulate her wish day, while Tori painted a midnight scene with stars and symbols. As the day started to heat up, the girls took a quick dip in the water. The water cooled their skin as they continued to talk about their favorite music and things to do in Forth Worth.

“Where’s Colleen?” the girls asked excitedly, awaiting well-known Oahu painter, Colleen Wilcox. She was going to be instructing them during their paint session and offer up some advice from her own successful experience.

When Colleen arrived, the trio walked across the beach and envisioned their paintings. Pointing across the ocean and mapping out their vision, their creative minds collaborated and melded as they chatted. Coming back to the table, the girls were serious in making a masterpiece. They put a lot of effort into their paintings, with hopes that they could donate them to their hospital back in Texas. This was only a glimpse into the giving spirit the girls have in them and brought over to the islands. Later on in the trip the girls would end up singing for sick children at Kaiser and even perform at Hard Rock Café with other wish families on their trips.

JayJay painted a lighthouse on the cliffs and Tori choose to focus on a far-off island. Even grandma got into the zone and painted Diamond Head! They were so proud of their paintings and Colleen complimented them on their use of color and overall vision.

As multi-talented artists, the girls played some songs on their new ukuleles for the gang. JayJay crooned “I’m Yours” by Jason Mraz as she plucked the strings and Ku’u could no tbelieve she was a witness to such talent. A painter and a singer, she thought in amazement! Creativity must run in this girls blood!

Ready for lunch, the whole crew headed to a nearby café to grab a quick bite after the excitement of the morning. As they waited for their burgers, Ku’u and Vanessa talked about life back in Texas.

“I left my job to take care of her,” Vanessa explained as they spoke about the treatments and hospital stays that JayJay endured. Inspired, Ku’u could feel all the concern around JayJay’s health and hoped that the food from this café would be something JayJay could stomach.

After a gabby lunch, the crew said their good byes, as JayJay asked everyone to come out to dinner later on in their trip. Ku’u’s heart was full of hope and joy as the girls drove off to their next adventure. She had witnessed a true and enduring friendship that she could never have felt without meeting these two inspiring artists.

JayJay and Tori brought hope and joy to the islands by showing everyone they met that no one is ever really alone. By sharing their passion for music and their strong relationship, they touched everyone who witnessed them sing and support each other. Their good hearts showed through every good time they shared, inspiring all of us to have a friendship like theirs. 

Special Thanks: Colleen Wilcox, Ku'u Kauanohe, Kaniela Ukulele, Make-A-Wish North Texas, Hawaiian Graphics, Florence Matsuoka. 

We're really more like soul sisters. ”

— JayJay, wish kid

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Make-A-Wish® Hawaii
P.O. Box 1877
Honolulu, HI 96805
(808) 537-3118 x100