For 8-year-old Davin from Kailua, the idea of going on vacation with his family was seemingly impossible. In fact, Davin and his family had never left Oahu together due to the logistical obstacles associated with his neurological disorder, which causes him to suffer from seizures and to rely on a wheelchair and his service dog.
Between medical appointments, school, and extracurricular activities for Davin’s brother Ayden, daily life often leaves the family feeling as if they are in a constant state of “divide and conquer,” according to wish mom Melissa.
“It’s a rare treat to be able to do things together as a whole family unit,” she explains. “With so many obstacles to simple tasks in daily life with a medically fragile child, the idea of travel for our entire family was daunting.”
Any time the family thought about a getaway from the daily stresses of medical appointments and complications, the realities of traveling together became too overwhelming; in addition to finding a rental vehicle with a wheelchair ramp, they would also have to ensure Davin’s oxygen needs would be met if he started to have a seizure, and they would need to coordinate bringing along Davin’s service dog. Overall, the undertaking seemed too much—what if they missed a detail and Davin needed something far away from home?
So, when Davin and his family started to explore wish ideas with wish granters Dana and Patty, a family vacation with his mom, dad, brother Ayden, and service dog emerged as an experience that would truly be life-changing. They decided on Kauai for Davin’s first-ever trip. “Kauai is a perfect getaway for our family with its slow-paced atmosphere and natural beauty,” says Melissa.
Soon, Davin and his ohana were on their way to Kauai for a trip of firsts: his first airplane ride, first off-island vacation, first time seeing a waterfall, and first time travelling with his service dog. Davin enjoyed seeing the Grand Canyon of the Pacific, visiting the botanical gardens, lounging by the pool, and even getting in the water, which is a rare treat.
Davin’s wish was also the first time in a long time that his family had the opportunity to focus on spending time together and making memories.
“It’s been a benefit to Davin to have this wonderful new travel experience, but also to our entire family’s hearts and souls,” said Melissa. “We couldn’t be more overwhelmed with joy and gratitude. What an amazing gift.”