Eleven-year-old Honolulu wish kid Taz is battling a critical heart condition and wished to spend time with his family at Walt Disney World. Just a few days after Christmas, Taz and his family were on their way to Daniel K. Inouye International Airport for their flight. Unbeknownst to Taz, his wish granters, Sam and Sejal, and members of our Hawaii wish team had teamed up with Alaska Airlines staff to make his sendoff truly incredible.
With balloons, lei, and wish signs in hand, Make-A-Wish Hawaii and Alaska Airlines enlisted the help of fellow passengers to welcome Taz to the gate, cheering for him as he made his way toward the plane. Make-A-Wish Hawaii President and CEO Trini Kaopuiki Clark shared the mic with the Alaska team to welcome Taz and share his story with the crowd.
Taz, his sister Victoria, and parents Jaydee and Jolon were then allowed to board the aircraft first, where they were greeted with lei, met the pilots, and took photos in the cockpit before embarking on a life-changing wish come true. Alaska Airlines had even upgraded the family’s seats free of charge.
"To see Taz and his family being sent off with love and aloha from Alaska Airlines was so beautiful," says Sam. "I was so proud to be their wish granter and I know that this wish gave Taz and his family a much needed moment to breathe and simply be a family. Taz is a kiddo of few words, the strong and silent type, so to see his face during his sendoff was a memory I will truly cherish forever."
Says wish mom Jaydee, “We talk about the trip almost daily…it was truly a wonderful experience for us. Thank you for all your work to make it special.”
Make-A-Wish Hawaii would like to thank the entire Alaska Airlines team, including Director of Sales, Community & Public Relations for Hawaii Daniel Chun and Alaska Airlines Honolulu General Manager Cameron Lovelace, for their hard work and heart making this a once-in-a-lifetime experience for Taz. Mahalo also to Rayen Watanabe and Abe McAulton for capturing Taz's sendoff and to wish granters Sejal and Sam for joining.