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.