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Wish! By the Sea raises unprecedented support

Hope filled the air during our 4th annual gala, Wish! By the Sea, held for the first time at The Aulani – A Disney Resort & Spa. About 650 guests awashed in all white attire anchored in to support children awaiting their wishes. An astounding and unprecedented $500,000  was raised, with pledges still coming in days after the May 9 event.

The evening began with a poolside cocktail hour and auction, featuring more than 300 unique items generously donated by local businesses and individuals. Among the most prized wins included a private dinner for 20 by Master Chef Roy Yamaguchi with a concert by Henry Kapono; a double co-pilot seat Zodiac Yachtline; and even an AKC Yellow Lab Wish! Puppy who will receive initial service dog training before going home to his new family.

Wish Father Aaron, whose daughter Ileina had her wish granted to be a princess at Walt Disney World® Resort, revealed the power of a wish with the recounting of his family’s personal journey – a story of inspiring strength. Make-A-Wish Hawaii President and CEO Siana Austin Hunt shared more unforgettable mission moments in reflection of our chapter’s recent reach, made possible with the support of our community. These beautiful moments, collectively, represent the rising tide of a wish that is helping children and families in communities on all islands.

After guests enjoyed a delicious seafood dinner prepared by The Aulani, a video aired sharing the story of 3-year-old Keanu, whose battle against a life-threatening heart condition has been a difficult chapter for his family. Keanu, among more than 100 children awaiting their wishes, asked to have an adventurous animal encounter wish. He has been patiently waiting to hear if this heartfelt dream will come true. At the video’s end, all 650 guests waved magic starfish wands high in the air to help grant Keanu’s wish, whose family was called to the stage. 

News of his trip unveiled, and Keanu was told to pack his bags to depart for Disney’s Animal Kingdom® Park!

See a slideshow of photos captured by Kevin Lubera below. Special thanks to our 2015 sponsors, whose generosity will allow more wishes to come true for children in Hawaii. 

  • Donors found many ways to support wishes at this year's gala, Wish! By the Sea.

  • Wish Kid Joseph stands by other wish kids as they prepare to deliver magic wish wands to guests upon arrival. Guests will later need these wands to help grant a surprise wish.

  • During the cocktail hour, guests browse an array of more than 300 items up for bid thanks to donations from local businesses and individuals.

  • A Zodiac Yachtline was among prized wins at this year's Silent and Live Auction, helping to raise needed funds for wishes.

  • Dozens of volunteers helped staff set up this year's signature gala, our biggest annual event.

  • Even Mickey and Minnie Mouse came dressed in all white for this year's Wish! By the Sea, held at The Aulani - A Disney Resort & Spa.

  • Wish Father Aaron leads guests at saying grace before the dinner program begins.

  • KHON's Howard Dashefsky is the evening's emcee, sharing his own personal connection to the Make-A-Wish mission when he was touched by the story of Wish Kid Addison who met a pink unicorn in Waimea Valley.

  • Make-A-Wish Hawaii President and CEO Siana Austin Hunt gets a big hug from Wish Alumna Skylar, who was among wish kids and families present to share the power of a wish with donors.

  • Guests listen closely to the heartfelt speech given by Wish Father Aaron, who shared the story of Ileina and how her wish experience uplifted the whole family.

  • Wish Father Aaron takes the stage to tell donors firsthand the impact of supporting wishes in Hawaii.

  • Make-A-Wish Hawaii President and CEO Siana Austin Hunt graces the stage to share beautiful mission moments made possible by our community.

  • During the night, guests step up to pledge their donations in support of helping more wishes come true in Hawaii.

  • At the end of the night, all 650 guests of the gala raised magic wish wands and helped grant 3-year-old Keanu's wish to go to Disney's Animal Kingdom Park! Here, his family walks toward the stage where news of his trip unveils in front of everyone.

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Make-A-Wish® Hawaii
P.O. Box 1877
Honolulu, HI 96805
(808) 537-3118 x100