On Friday, December 11, 2015, a Waipahu teenager living with a chronic heart condition received the surprise of a lifetime.
Julie, 14, dreamed of attending the Snow Festival in Sapporo, Japan. On Friday, she learned that dream would become a reality, thanks to Make-A-Wish Hawaii and Macy’s National Believe Campaign.
Waiting in Macy’s Ala Moana were taiko drummers, a keiki drumming club, ladies from the Cherry Blossom Court, Hongwanji dancers and a custom ice sculpture, sculpted by the Sheraton Waikiki team that attends the annual festival. But this ice sculpture had a surprise inside: a boarding pass to Sapporo, Japan.
“It was like a sensation of all kinds of feelings, like happiness, excitement… mostly happiness and excitement. It was just great to see this happen, and I really didn’t expect anything either,” said Julie.
When asked why Julie wanted to see snow in Japan, she said the only time she had seen snow before was through the window of the medivac as it arrived in Seattle. Despite feeling terribly ill, the snow was so beautiful and she wanted to experience the natural beauty when she was healthier, and in the country of her heritage. Onlookers including wish families, Macy’s shoppers and Make-A-Wish Hawaii staff and volunteers, cheered for Julie as her wish was revealed, holding up signs of support and applauding wildly or shedding silent tears of joy.
It was also Julie’s 14th birthday, but before heading upstairs to her surprise birthday party in the Pineapple Room, she led the crowd to the Macy’s red letterbox to drop off her letters to Santa toward granting wishes for children across the country for the continuing Macy's Believe Campaign. Each letter to Santa through December 24 is a $1 donation from Macy’s to benefit Make-A-Wish, but were worth $2 on National Believe Day.
Julie’s wish was one of more than 50 wishes granted across the country on Friday for Macy’s National Believe Day, helping the Make-A-Wish Foundation grant wishes for children with life-threatening medical conditions everywhere.