Diagnosed with brain cancer last year, 17-year-old Parker has been through unimaginable challenges. Surgeries, treatment and long stays at the hospital consumed much of Parker’s days and nights, but the one thing that took the worry and pain away was thinking about his wish trip to Hawaii! Parker didn’t want your average Hawaiian vacation – he wished to take a leap and go Paragliding in Hawaii!
Parker, his parents and his little brother, Peyton, left their home in Indiana and flew all the way to the beautiful Hawaiian Islands where they planned to go to a Luau, stop at Pearl Harbor and snorkel at Hanauma Bay. But nothing on their list was as exciting as flying above the island on a paragliding adventure!
Jorge, the paragliding instructor, gave the family safety rules before embarking on their thrilling activity. Parker and Peyton were filled with so much excitement that they decided to go first, while their parents watched from below in the landing area. They practiced their take-off a few times and had some of the instructors assist them, until Parker finally mustered up enough courage and said “I’m ready to go, I’m ready to do it!”
As Parker took off, his heart raced, but as soon as he was in full flight he felt a sense of calm come over him. He looked around to see the beautiful blue Pacific Ocean beneath him, big waves crashing on the shores of Makapu’u beach, and magnificent green mountains beside him and everything felt okay. Parker was floating above the world – he saw beauty all around him and during that 45 minute flight, life was nothing but “Awesome”.
After doing a fun trick in the air, Parker and Jorge landed at the spot where his parents and brother waited. Hitting the ground with a huge smile on his face, Parker exclaimed, “That was so awesome!” Parker and his brother did it… and now it was their parent’s turn! After trekking up the mountain, Parker’s mom and dad took flight! The entire family took the plunge together.
Escaping his illness and going on vacation with his family was all Parker really wanted – the time his family spent together and the memories that they created will last them a lifetime – and that is the most magical gift of all.
Special Thanks: Aloha Adventure Tours, Make-A-Wish Ohio, Kentucky & Indiana, Hanauma Bay, Starlight Luau, Pearl Harbor Tours