Seventeen-year-old Lahaina wish kid Leticia was starting to feel out of place after many months of doctor’s visits, missing school and hospital trips. She was busy battling Lupus, a systemic autoimmune disorder, and was in need of an experience that could truly bring her hope and strength for the future.
Within her home town of Lahaina, Maui, something magical was in store for Leticia. Local wish granting couple Tim and Diana were ready to help turn sadness into joy for Leticia through a wish come true, just as Diana had experienced when she was younger. Diana was once a wish kid herself, and her husband encouraged her to wish it forward and volunteer for Make-A-Wish Hawaii. “When I was 12 I had Non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and my wish was to go to Disney World with my family. I have always had a connection to the oncology world and love what the Make-A-Wish organization stands for,” she said.
For Leticia, being able to form a bond and friendship with someone who understands her journey firsthand was just what she needed. “Some of my greatest memories were when I first met Tim and Diana and got to tell them my story. They were so open and understanding,” Leticia explained, and the feelings were mutual.
“As soon as we met Leticia and her family, they welcomed us into their home and immediately treated us as ohana,” said Tim. “Leticia and her siblings are always so respectful and willing to laugh and play every time we see them.”
As they got to know one another and explored ideas for Leticia’s wish, it was clear that the heart of her wish was to spend time with her family and enjoy the holidays at Walt Disney World.
Soon, Tim, Diana, and other local community supporters surprised Leticia with a wish reveal party at Maui Golf and Sports Park, where she played games, made crafts and soaked her friends with the bumper boats. “I felt super blessed and grateful. It was so great to see everyone that made my wish possible be there to say happy wish day,” said Leticia.
Her wish experience became even more magical once she arrived at Walt Disney World with her ohana. “The wish meant so much. It brought my family closer, and that was the first time in a while that we got to spend the holidays together. It made my heart feel so warm,” she said.
Leticia’s wish was also able to inspire the Lahaina community, including Diana, Tim, and local supporters like Aloha Petroleum and Lahaina Petroleum, who adopted her wish.
“It was inspiring to participate in this experience, and we couldn’t have done it without the generous donations of our customers,” said Richard Parry, Aloha Petroleum CEO and President.
As it turns out, Leticia’s wish come true not only united her family and community, but it may have also had a positive impact on her health. Since returning from her wish, Leticia has not been on dialysis and is no longer in need of kidney transplant.
Wish mom Shannon expressed her gratitude: “This wish was a life changer for her and made her feel like the special person she is to me. That smile was one I hadn’t seen in a while and was truly a blessing. Make-A-Wish Hawaii has literally changed her life and ours in more ways than they will ever know.”
Make-A-Wish Hawaii is only able to grant life-changing wishes like Leticia’s with the support of generous local donors like Aloha Petroleum and Lahaina Petroleum. Mahalo to Aloha Petroleum and Lahaina Petroleum for adopting Leticia’s wish and for their continued support of local wish keiki.