Karol and his brother love to build model Navy ships and learn about military history, and his father was also a member of the Navy Reserves. So when Karol had the chance to make a wish due to his battle with cystic fibrosis, it was a natural segue to wish to meet America’s elite - the Navy SEALS!
While most wishes to visit Hawaii stem from a longing to explore all that is paradise, Wish Kid Karol had a more specific interest in Hawaii. Stories of the SEALS’ strength and courage have been a great source of inspiration, and Karol couldn’t wait to meet these SEALS in person!
The Hawaii- based Navy SEALS put together a two-day mission to grant Karol’s wish. On the first day, ten SEALS took Karol and his family snorkeling at the beautiful Hanauma Bay. For Karol, who battles cystic fibrosis - a genetic disorder that causes a thick, mucus build-up in the lungs - the salt water of the ocean acted as a natural therapy for his lungs. But thoughts of his medical battle were far from his mind - he couldn’t believe he was in the ocean with his idols!
It didn’t take long for Karol to warm up to his new buddies, breaking out of his shy demeanor and joking around with his new friends.
On Day Two, the Navy SEALS took Karol and his family on an exclusive base tour, where he got to follow in the footsteps of his idols and see the tools and training that it takes to join America’s finest. Given the name “Goose,” he was one of the guys as he tried on their gear and helped with a practice mission of catching some bad guys. Soon, it was time for lunch and the crew headed to Buffalo Wild Wings for some brother bonding.
After lunch, Karol’s knowledge would be put to the test. Dressed in his favorite blue Navy camouflage uniform, all ten SEALS took him and his family to Hawaii Xtreme Paintballing. Split into two groups - one being “the humans” and the other being “the zombies” - Karol learned the importance of teamwork as he faced the zombie apocalypse with his “battle buddies.”
As the mission came to a successful end, the Navy SEALS gathered around Karol and his family and presented him with a collection of sentimental military coins. This was way more than a meet-and-greet - Karol had become a Frogman during his two-day tour with the SEALS. He was one of them.
“Don’t feel bad, mom, but this day is better than all of my birthdays rolled into one,” he said to his mom as he took off his paintball gear.
And as for mom, she didn’t feel bad. She just witnessed her young warrior live out the ultimate dream. Though joining the SEALS one day will be impossible due to his condition, this wish made it possible if only for a moment in time, instilling incredible strength and joy for his future.
Special Thanks: Hawaii-based Navy SEALS, Hawaii Xtreme Paintballing, Hanauma Bay.