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A New Beginning

  • Mackenzie and Chandler learn about the Japan's rich cultural history in Kyoto.

  • Chandler and her mom, Crista, have a blast on the subway!

  • Chandler and her older sister, Mackenzie, take a photo at the top of the Tokyo Skytree, the world's highest freestanding broadcasting tower.

  • Chandler insisted on having sushi for almost every meal!

  • More delicious sushi!

  • The view from below Tokyo Tower, the world's tallest, self-supported steel tower which was modeled off the Eiffel Tower.

“ It was a new beginning. ”

- Crista, Chandler's mom

A little more than one year ago, Chandler felt a pain in her knee that was more than just growing pains. Her mother, Crista, saw how she was struggling during hula practice, and knew something wasn’t right.

A quick X-ray and biopsy later, and Chandler was officially diagnosed with bone cancer. It was a whirlwind; before the news had settled in, Chandler’s doctors were already planning the next steps for treatment.

In one moment, Chandler’s preteen life changed forever. Instead of worrying about her next hula performance, she was worrying about her next surgery and all the pain that would follow.

The next year of Chandler’s life was filled with doctor’s appointments, surgeries and treatment. And her mom and older sister were with her every step of the way.

In the midst of all the worry, something bright came along and gave Chandler and her family hope. 

“We were excited when we heard that Chandler could receive a wish. We just needed to get through each day, each surgery. And after the last one, it was finally like, OK, we’re done and now we can move on.” – Crista, Chandler's mom

After five grueling surgeries, Chandler finally felt like a weight was lifted off her shoulders: she had a wish to look forward to. And it wasnt just any “wish to go,” it was a wish to experience the culture of Japan and get her fill of her absolute favorite food: sushi!

“It was all about the food,” laughed Crista. After an entire year of not eating sushi due to her condition, Chandler admitted that her absolute favorite part of her wish was, "eating all the sushi!"

Chandler ate sushi at every meal and LOVED it! In between meals, she experienced the hustle and bustle of city life in Tokyo, and the serene temples and rich cultural history of Kyoto alongside her mom and older sister, Mackenzie. “This past year, we were always either at the hospital or at home,” said Crista. “It was nice to be in a new place, not worrying and just having fun together. The wish definitely brought our family closer.”

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