For Hawaii Island wish granter Sasha, the chance to make wishes come true is “rewarding beyond measure.” When keiki and their families are faced with long, uncertain journeys ahead, Sasha and her fellow volunteers are the ones who deliver “fun, excitement, and joy.” And when Sasha met 6-year-old Captain Cook wish kid Karley, she was eager to make Karley feel every bit the princess she dreamed of being—an experience that both wish granters and the wish family would call a blessing.
Karley’s family has endured unimaginable tragedies; after losing their first daughter, they soon learned that Karley was battling cancer. Wish mom Lea describes life with a child who is suffering from critical illness as nerve-racking, filled with busy schedules, doctor visits, and endless worry. Her first meeting with Karley’s wish granters was an opportunity to imagine life beyond illness and all that comes with it. “It was exciting meeting the person who ultimately gave up their time to help our family,” she says. “[It] was truly a blessing.”
And Sasha felt the same. “Karley is a smiling, joy-filled princess!” she says. “What an amazing blessing it was to be one of her wish granters.”
She and her wish granting partner Melissa quickly learned just how much Karley loves all the Disney princesses, especially Belle from Beauty and the Beast. “Karley just adores Belle and couldn’t wait to get dressed up just like her,” she explains. They immediately set to work planning Karley’s one true wish: to be a princess at Walt Disney World® for her birthday.
Karley learned her wish would be coming true during a wish reveal party surrounded by family, friends, and all those who had been there for her along her journey. Sasha and Melissa gifted her a beautiful princess outfit to wear at Walt Disney World; Lea says this made the experience even more special and that much more real.
“Realizing this was actually happening was my favorite part [of the wish], along with seeing Karley smile,” said Lea. The entire experience—from that very first visit with Sasha and Melissa to the wish reveal and, of course, the wish come true—gave the family a much-needed break and time to focus on one another and their hopes for the future. Instead of their usual busy schedule, they enjoyed watching Karley transform into a princess for her birthday, sending photos of her makeover and all the fun at Disney along the way to the wish granters who had become part of the ohana.
“[The wish] has given her an experience of a lifetime,” says Lea. “It has given her hope to not give up and to know that there are others out there just like her battling the same fight she’s going through.”
For Sasha, the experience reaffirmed her decision to make wishes come true: “This has been the single most fulfilling volunteer work I’ve done. It’s a blessing to be a blessing and I’m just so grateful to Make-A-Wish for providing such amazing opportunities to our keiki.”
We are seeking wish granting volunteers like Sasha on every island. To learn how you can make wishes come true in your community, click here.