Dominique, who battles kidney disease, wished to have his own radio-controlled raceway track in his backyard. His passion for cars sparked this wish that previously only existed in his imagination, now brought to life thanks to Make-A-Wish® Hawaii staff, their community partners and volunteers.
Dominique learned of his eligibility for a wish in the spring, and planning began. This wasn’t Dominique’s first encounter with Make-A-Wish® Hawaii. In May of 2013, Dominique’s older sister Julia, now 9, was granted her wish to visit Give Kids The World resort. Both children suffer from kidney disease and both are thriving following kidney transplants in the past year-and-a-half.
Make-A-Wish® Hawaii turned to RC track building experts to realize Dominique’s wish, recruiting Sandbox RC Hawaii to manage and design this dream raceway track. Owners Piilani and Caillen Kanekoa are passionate hobbyists who run what they refer to as “the finest RC Track in Hawaii,” located in Honolulu.
Jon Spies of Big Island Landscaping donated equipment to help clear the land in Dominique’s backyard, with the help of community members who arrived with rakes, shovels and work gloves to build this raceway in just three and a half days. Kingsview Café graciously provided meals to volunteer workers throughout the building process.
“The community support surrounding Dominique’s wish has been phenomenal,” said Make-A-Wish® Hawaii COO Amy Sterry. “We are so grateful to the community for coming together to help us make this happen in the most special, exciting way. It is something that is easy to get behind, once you’ve seen the joy on a child’s face that his or her wish brings.”
Dominique’s wish reveal – “The Backyard – Dom’s RC Raceway,” – featured three radio-controlled Traxxas cars to break in the new course. The day was punctuated by the noisy arrival of a monster truck, owned by Kevin Vincent and driven by friend Josiah Hook, who added some excitement to the wish. Local organizations came out to help Dominique break in the new course, too, including the Kohala High School Football players.
Later that day, Make-A-Wish® Hawaii staff, volunteers and community partners gathered at the ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center, part of the University of Hawaii at Hilo, where Jacie learned that her wish to go to Walt Disney World® will be granted in October. At just three years old, Jacie is battling a type of eye cancer.
“This was a very special moment for Jacie to learn that her wish will soon come true. When we grant a wish to a child, it is so powerful because it gives them something to look forward to. It marks a turning point for them and often helps them face their treatments with new courage,” said Siana Austin Hunt, Make-A-Wish® Hawaii President and CEO.
This Wish Reveal was among the most unique, as Jacie and her family gathered inside the digital full-dome planetarium, complete with surround sound. It is the first in the world to have 3-D stereoscopic capabilities, and is currently the only planetarium in the United States with the capability, according to the center.
“We were thrilled and honored to be a part of Jacie's big reveal, held here at the 'Imiloa Astronomy Center,” said Ka‘iu Kimura, Executive Director of the Center. “Her cheerful and courageous spirit is an inspiration to all of us.”
Big Island Volunteer Aolani Kailihou spearheaded this magical “Disney Princess Party Under the Stars,” rallying several dozen volunteer actors and actresses from the community who put on a special princess-themed performance for Jacie. The planetarium provided a breathtaking backdrop.
“The special thing about Jacie’s wish reveal is that it gives our community a chance to get involved and support our own keiki,” Kailihou said. “Often community members are asked to support wishes for children whose wish is to travel to Hawai’i, and although those wishes are equally magical, we all have a special amount of aloha for keiki from our own communities.”
Jacie and Dominique are among 12 eligible keiki on the Big Island who are currently awaiting their wishes to be granted.