I also knew that I would be handling social media under my supervisor’s guidance and that such responsibility might mean I could go on wishes, but I never knew how wholesomely good it would feel to witness a wish until I covered Camron’s wish to be a marine biologist.
Camron’s wish was unique and wise beyond her age. At 15, she wished to visit Hawaii and tour the University of Hawaii at Manoa’s Marine Biology program. As a cancer warrior, many days enduring treatment were made just a little easier at the thought of focusing on her future. And in those days of darkness, it was dreams of one day working as a marine biologist that gave her courage.
For me, days leading up to her wish were fueled with both excitement and nervousness. I knew that it was going to be life-changing for Camron after hearing what UH Manoa had been planning for her, and I wanted to make sure I captured everything, not just for us, but for her. I wanted her and our whole community to see how special she is and how important a wish come true is for all involved.
On the day of her wish, we rushed over to UH Manoa to find rows of people holding signs and smiling. My eyes widened and my heart burst at how many people turned out to greet her. People all over the lawn and sidewalk buzzed about Camron before even meeting her. Students, athletes, and staff of UH Manoa were all compelled to come after hearing her story.
As cars drove by, we all perked up and wondered “Is that her?” We couldn’t keep still! Finally, she had arrived and the roar of cheers was reminiscent of a sports game. The air filled with joy and fervor. Blushing and smiling, she came of the bus and received a beautiful oli, Hawaiian chant. Chancellor Robert Bley-Vroman and Vice Chancellor Dr. Lori Ideta then surprised her with an honorary certificate of acceptance into the Marine Biology program!
Her reaction was priceless, and I was lucky to have experienced – and captured – that moment.
Doing social media for wishes like this may sound like fun to most people. But it is so much more than fun. It was surreal. Being there with her and witnessing every smile, tear of joy, gleam in her eye, made me feel so lucky. Who am I to get to see something this magical? And how can I ever capture something so wonderfully good with my little Android and Instagram? It doesn’t seem to do it justice.
Then, I understood. That is the power of a wish. A wish empowers more than just the wish child. It strengthens the family, who bonds over these life-affirming experiences; it inspires the community, who unites over the gift of hope; and it inspires me. I want to work harder to make uplifting moments like these happen for all of our wish keiki. I hope to capture these moments to authentically share with all of you just how powerful a wish truly is.
Don't take it from me. See Camron's wish experience in this video below, courtesy of UH Manoa: