Sixteen-year-old Alyssa of Honolulu loves every aspect of Korean culture—the skincare, the language, the food. Her favorite, though, is the music. A musician herself who plays the piano, ukulele, and guitar, Alyssa loves the sounds of Korean pop music, routinely watching videos of her favorite bands on YouTube. Obsessed with K-pop bands like Stray Kids, she dreamed of attending a concert in person in Korea.
Alyssa’s love of K-pop extends beyond the fun dances and upbeat songs and into the meaning she finds within the lyrics. Battling cystic fibrosis, which requires daily medical treatments and presents lifelong obstacles, Alyssa admires that bands like Stray Kids explore deep, relatable issues through their music. She’s been following the group since before their debut, when they appeared on a reality TV show with various talent trying to form a band. Alyssa loved that the group who ultimately became Stray Kids fought to stick together.
While she loves each of the band members, Alyssa’s favorite is Felix. Originally from Australia, Felix didn’t know Korean at first but now is fluent. As someone who loves Korean culture, Alyssa especially admires Felix and his resiliency. She also points out it doesn’t hurt that Felix is cute and likes to have fun.
When wish granters Cayenne and Danny first met with Alyssa about the possibility of a wish, there was an immediate connection. As they got to know Alyssa and explore her love of K-Pop, they also got close with her and her family.
“For two people to dedicate so much time, effort, and emotion for our family was truly a defining moment for everyone, especially Alyssa,” said wish dad Chris, who referred to Cayenne and Danny as “two of the best people we have had the pleasure of meeting.”
With the help of the team at Make-A-Wish Hawaii and Make-A-Wish Korea, Cayenne and Danny set to work bringing Alyssa’s wish to meet the Stray Kids to life, and Alyssa learned she would soon be on her way to Korea to meet Stray Kids in person.
“Knowing all of the hard work and dedication that went into making this particular wish come true made for a very emotional moment for all of us,” said Chris.
And when the family arrived in Korea, Chris says the entire experience—from arriving at the airport and attending the concert to touring the city and meeting wonderful volunteers—was
Of course, Alyssa’s favorite part was attending the Stray Kids World Tour District 9: Unlock show at the Olympic Hall in Seoul and meeting all the members, who each took note of her story and befriended her. Alyssa cried and smiled as the group embraced her.
Her favorite band member, Felix, said, “I would like to express my sincere gratitude to Alyssa, who empathized with our music and traveled to Korea after a long flight.”
The impact of this unforgettable wish come true did not end when the family arrived back home in Hawaii.
“This wish provided a boost to Alyssa which has enabled her to tackle her physical limitations with renewed hope and vigor,” said Chris. “[It] has had such a positive impact on our family, and I can tell that Alyssa has personally experienced a much more positive outlook on life—even taking to her multiple times daily medical maintenance procedures with renewed energy.”
“I truly had the time of my life, and the collaboration between JYP Entertainment and the Make-A-Wish Foundation made it all possible,” said Alyssa in a thank you letter to JYP Entertainment, the group’s agency, after her wish come true. “I would also like to thank Stray Kids for welcoming me so kindly and for keeping me strong during my darkest times. I will always cherish the time I was able to spend with such an inspirational and kindhearted group.”
Make-A-Wish Hawaii would like to thank Make-A-Wish Korea, JYP Entertainment, Stray Kids, and wish granters Cayenne and Danny for making this life-changing experience possible for Alyssa.