Planning for this wish began at the start of the summer, when Addison’s home chapter, Make-A-Wish® Georgia, discovered her true wish to experience Hawaii. While wishes to visit Hawaii are the second most requested across the organization, Addison’s wish to visit Hawaii had a perplexing twist – she dreamed of meeting a pink unicorn in the rainforest!
The wish came to life thanks to Diamond Head Theatre, which provided volunteer actors. John Rampage, who has been the Artistic Director with Diamond Head Theatre for 19 years, was instrumental in facilitating this fairytale wish.
“I handpicked the actors and actresses, and first recommended Alvin Chan to write the script. He has a history with writing original pieces with Honolulu Theatre for Youth, and so from there he found out as much about the story as Make-A-Wish knew from Addison and what her expectations were,” Rampage said.
Alvin Chan, Hawaii born-and-raised actor and writer with Honolulu Theatre for Youth, donated his talents to Make-A-Wish® Hawaii by writing a fairytale script that would serve as the foundation for Addison’s unique wish day.
“When I heard the details of Addison's wish, my first impression was one of amazement,” Chan added. “I loved the ideas (Addison had) of a rainforest setting and a unicorn, but I was surprised that it was going to be set in an actual rainforest instead of a theatre – and that there would be an actual horse! When I heard that, I was ecstatic.”
From there, the script got sent back to Rampage, who had to find the right team.
“When we got the script, I chose the actors that would be available and that I knew could handle the logistics of the program itself. Really there was no way to rehearse this in advance unless we went out to a forest, and so I tried hard to find professionals that could adapt to a situation and go with the flow – and that’s not easy.”
Addison had three main tasks to fulfill on her quest: find the sweetest fruit, the prettiest flower and sing a song to release the magical unicorn. Once all three tasks were accomplished, she would successfully free the “Queen of Arboretia,” who had been kidnapped for taking too much from the land.
Waimea Valley provided the venue at no cost, and Make-A-Wish® Hawaii community volunteers helped decorate the setting that would serve as the town of “Arboretia.” The enchanting unicorn was played by a Waimanalo horse named Sonny, owned by Real Pocock, who spent months in advance training Sonny to perform a special “bow” while wearing the unicorn attire. Adding to the atmosphere, Springs from Paradise Butterfly donated a cage of butterflies that Addison got to release.
“Addison is one of 1,000 wishes we will grant this year for keiki and their families who want to come here and experience the aloha spirit,” said President and CEO Siana Austin Hunt. “Moreover, we will grant 100 wishes by the end of this calendar year to local keiki battling life-threatening medical conditions statewide. On both of these fronts, we are reaching more children than we ever have in our 32-year history.”
On average, Make-A-Wish® Hawaii sees a few large production wishes like this each year that require a dose of creativity, imagination and collaboration to make them happen.
This wish showcases just how vital community support and collaboration are to the Make-A-Wish® mission, especially today as the Hawaii chapter continues to grant a record number of wishes as a result of more incoming medical referrals from parents and physicians statewide.
“We are so grateful to our island community for helping us make this wish come true,” Hunt added. “Today, there are more than 80 Hawaii wish children actively awaiting their wishes to come true. We look to our community to help make these possible.”
- Waimea Valley
- Alvin Chan, Playwright
- Diamond Head Theatre Artistic Director John Rampage and Costume Director Karen Wolfe
- Royal Hawaiian Band, Trumpeter DeShannon Higa
- Candes Meijide Gentry, "The Queen"
- Christopher Villasenor, "The Prince"
- Ahnya Chang and Erzi Palko, "Wood Nymphs"
- Springs from Paradise Butterfly
- Watanabe Floral
- Jr. Lou and T’s
- Do’s Formal
- Diane Pang
- Waimanalo Horse “Sonny,” & Owner Real Pocock
- Kevin Lubera Photography
- Susanne Kurisu Videography