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Dom’s backyard transforms into dream raceway!

  • President and CEO Siana Austin Hunt helps Dom with his special ribbon cutting ceremony of his new raceway!

  • Make-A-Wish banners signaling a very special work-site of wish granting in progress!

  • The first two days on-site involved hands-on yard work in preparation for the race track

  • Pausing to discuss plans and prep work for Wish Kid Dom's new backyard digs

  • Watch out! Bringing in the experts at Big Island Landscaping to help us clear the yard

  • Big Island Landscaping donated time and equipment to help us make way for Dom's dream Backyard Raceway

  • Dom received a personalized itinerary giving him hints and clues leading up to his Wish Day

  • Work gloves hang on the fence during prep work for the backyard transformation

  • Tubing sits along the fence as volunteers and staff work under guidance of community partners to clear the yard

  • A group photo of family, friends, volunteers, and staff who helped with this unique Big Island Wish

  • Dom's Wish Reveal was complete with a themed cake and plates!

  • Dom smiles with approval and gratitude for his new backyard raceway built with the help of the local community

  • Dom's backyard in Hawi was transformed into his dream Radio-Controlled Raceway in 3.5 days!

  • Wish Kid Dom, 8, battling Kidney Disorder, is all smiles on the day of his big Wish Reveal

  • Wish Kid Dom, pictured right, giggles with joy as he watches his new Radio-Controlled Traxxas car break in his new course

  • Make-A-Wish Hawaii COO Amy Sterry talks to Wish Kid Dom about his Wish Experience

  • Wish Kid Dom poses in front of his new toys given to him on his Wish Day from various community supporters

  • Community volunteers and partners stand on the sidelines to see Dom's reaction to the raceway they helped to build for him

  • Wish Kid Dom takes the controls of his new Traxxas race cars as he stands in the newly-built driver stand overlooking his course

  • Dom leaves the driver stand and plays with his new Traxxas radio-controlled car on one of many hills built in the dirt track, designed by Sandbox RC Hawaii!

  • Wish Kid Dom carrying one of his new Traxxas race cars while playing on his new course, named "The Backyard - Dom's RC Raceway"

  • Making new memories in Dom's backyard from the Driver's Stand!

  • Outside view of Dom's dream raceway, turned reality!

  • On your mark! Get set! Go!

  • Dom can't help but smile as he inspects his new radio-controlled Traxxas cars

  • Dom's new radio-controlled Traxxas cars built for racing!

  • Make-A-Wish Hawaii President and CEO Siana Austin Hunt pauses to celebrate with Dom's loved ones

  • The Koa Puna Motorcycle Club escorted Dom and his family from the Hilton Waikoloa Village to his new backyard

  • Dom's reaction was priceless when he first saw his dream come true

  • Dom wanted to share this experience with his ohana, stopping to soak in the moment together

  • Taking a moment to bless the new raceway before the ribbon cutting ceremony

  • Pure joy could be seen on Dom's Wish Day

  • Making sure the doggy approves of the new yard!

  • Big Island residents David Vincent and Josiah Hook ensured Dom had a sweet ride on his Wish Day!

“ Before he looked at the cars or the track, he ran up to the house to bring his grandma down to share the experience. ”


- James Donnelly,
Staff and Raceway Volunteer

Vrrooom Vrroom! Big Island kid Dominique couldn’t contain his excitement when he first saw his backyard raceway, built and designed by the community – all for him!

Dominique, who prefers Dom for short, has raced through tough obstacles that no 8-year-old should have to face; obstacles he’s shared with his one-year-elder sister, Julia. Both were diagnosed with kidney disease stemming from a rare hereditary condition called cystinosis, which causes an amino acid to accumulate in the body.

Dom and Julia are among 800 patients in the country coping with this condition, which landed them both on a transplant list. Their illness resulted in many visits from their home in Hawi to Honolulu, as well as to the National Institutes of Health in Maryland. We’re happy to report that the siblings both received kidney transplants in the past year-and-a-half. Through all of the traveling and medical treatments, Make-A-Wish® Hawaii has provided a glimmer of light for Dom’s parents, as they coped with two of their four kids facing down a life-threatening condition.  

Make-A-Wish® made Julia’s wish to go to Walt Disney World® come true in May of 2013.  Her younger brother Dom tapped deep into his own imagination to discover his one true wish. His love for speed led to a unique request – he wanted his very own radio-controlled raceway track!

Make-A-Wish® Hawaii turned to the experts, recruiting help from Sandbox RC Hawaii to manage and design this dream raceway track. Owners Piilani and Caillen Kanekoa are passionate hobbyists who run what they refer to as “the finest RC Track in Hawaii,” located in Honolulu. 

With a plan in place, Make-A-Wish® Hawaii staff recruited volunteers from surrounding Big Island communities near Hawi to help clear the land under guidance from Big Island Landscaping, who donated the use of their equipment. The Kohala High School Football Team came out to help with the yard work and to support Dom and his family. The construction process happened in 3.5 days, while Dom and his family stayed at the Hilton Waikoloa Village, so Dom couldn’t peek!

The hard work paid off, and it was time to reveal “The Backyard – Dom’s RC Raceway.” The Koa Puna Motorcycle Club made some noise and surprised Dom and his family when they drove up to the Waikoloa to escort them home!

Overcome with joy, Dom was shocked to see his backyard completely transformed into the raceway of his dreams. Three Traxxas cars were ready for him to take the controls as he stood from a newly-built, bright green driver’s box, built by Mark Kaneshiro, that overlooks the dirt track. Staff, volunteers and community partners cheered him on, and local resident Kevin Vincent let friend Josiah Hook roar up his Monster Truck to add some noise & excitement to the day.

Dom’s excitement & joy showed clearly on his face – hospital visits were not on his mind as he got to race his new cars around his very own track!  After all of the obstacles he has been through and will continue to overcome, his backyard raceway is his new happy place – a place where he can live in the moment, enjoying the adrenaline rush and fun of racing!

Click here to see more videos on our YouTube Channel

Special thanks: Sandbox RC Hawaii, Big Island Landscaping, Mark Kaneshiro, Hilton Waikoloa Village, Kohala High School Cowboys, Koa Puna Motorcycle Club, Pro-Line Racing, Kingsview Café, Kevin Vincent, Josiah Hook, Chris Hirata, Beca Silva, Anna Pacheco, Todd Buczyna, HPM Building Supply Waimea, Starbucks Waimea, Home Depot Kona, Edwin Deluz Trucking, Minnies, Hawi Barbecue, Hinokawa Electric Company, Enterprise Rental Car, Kohala Credit Union, Vance Fujii, Jeff Van Meter, CocaCola Hawaii, AK Ranch, Ainahua Florals, Green Apple Company, Kona Lua and the numerous individual volunteers who came out to help!

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June 25, 2012 - 11:25 AM

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Make-A-Wish® Hawaii
P.O. Box 1877
Honolulu, HI 96805
(808) 537-3118 x100