2017 was a difficult year for Mililani wish dad Randy. On the day before his mother’s funeral, he and his wife Evelyn found out that their 3-year-old daughter Skyla-Rose had cell histiocytosis, a rare form of cancer.
The diagnosis was stressful for the family, and Evelyn noted that at times it was difficult to know which ailments were related to Skyla’s condition and which were just normal issues for an average toddler.
After a string of tough doctor’s appointments came a referral to Make-A-Wish Hawaii, and soon the family met Skyla’s volunteer wish granters. When it was time for Skyla to select her one true wish, she made sure they visited the most magical place on Earth at the most wonderful time of the year. Skyla, Evelyn, Randy, and Skyla’s younger brother, Ezekiel, were spending Christmas at Disney World!
There was a lot of excitement in the lead-up to the wish, starting with a Disney-themed wish reveal party complete with a pair of Minnie’s signature ears for Skyla to wear. A Mickey Mouse countdown calendar only added to the excitement. Each ring on the paper chain represented a day until the journey to Orlando, and Evelyn recalls the countdown routine. “It was such a joy to see Skyla so excited to take a ring off and be that much closer to getting to Disney World,” she said.
The week-long adventure was truly a magical experience. They had a packed itinerary: Skyla’s family soared the skies with E.T., met Mary Poppins and a minion, and flexed with Captain America. A “twinning” moment between Skyla and Princess Jasmine was particularly memorable, and the pair twirled in their matching ensembles. The family’s time in Florida was also special because Skyla and Ezekiel were able to enjoy a lot of bonding time. The brother-sister duo could be spotted giving lots of hugs to Goofy, Pluto, Anna, Elsa and each other, and both rode horses at Give Kids the World Village, where the family stayed.
Randy and Evelyn are believers in the healing power of a wish, having witnessed its results firsthand. Remembering a doctor’s appointment not long after their return to Hawaii, Randy talks about the game-changing news they received, saying, “We went [to Disney World] in December, and [Skyla] got scanned in January… [there] had been a really significant improvement.” Skyla was doing well and would not have to take scans as frequently as before. Evelyn was filled with joy seeing Skyla excited and not in pain during her wish. Randy agrees, saying, “It definitely showed during the wish that having that happiness can really change the way your body responds.”
He also wants to dispel a common misconception about the organization that has impacted his and his family’s life: “There’s always been that stigma that it’s ‘last wish’ – it’s not ‘last wish,’ it’s more of a way to give kids something to look forward to – give them joy.”
Randy is thankful to those who helped make Skyla’s wish come true and hopes that others will donate or volunteer to make more wishes like Skyla’s come true in the future. He says, “[To the] people donating to this cause for people, [even when] they have no idea who they are… know that you made a difference in their lives.”