Although 16-year-old Mililani wish kid Kona has a congenital heart defect, it does not stop him from experiencing life to the fullest.
With a tender and adventurous spirit, he enjoys dirt bike riding with his family, taking turns riding in front of his dad, mom, and uncle and asking to “GO FAST!”
In addition to dirt bike riding, one of Kona’s favorite activities is watching anything Disney-themed, including YouTube videos of Disney parades to see all the characters. His favorite character is Captain Jack Sparrow from his most-watched movie series, The Pirates of the Caribbean. Kona’s wish was to meet the infamous captain of the Black Pearl in person at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park.
Jen, Kona’s wish granter, collaborated with him and his family and helped plan the details of his wish experience. In addition to meeting Captain Jack Sparrow, “Kona’s love for speed influenced his desire to see and sense the fast rides and experience a magical place away from Hawaii,” she said.
The wish was also a unifying experience for the whole family. As work keeps Kona’s father, Jason, away from home for long periods of time, the wish provided an opportunity for the family to travel outside of Oahu and enjoy spending time together. Jen noted that it was a pleasure to assist in granting Kona’s wish. She said, “The whole family was easy to work with, and Kona was so sweet. They were very appreciative, and prior to his wish, Kona was so excited to either visit us or talk about his wish.” Now, Jen said that when Kona reflects back on his experience, his posture changes, and he gets excited and repeats, “Jack Sparrow!” Kona will forever remember his wish “as the day he actually caught Jack Sparrow.”
When asked about the best part of being a wish granter, Jen said, “It’s fun to help build the anticipation of the wish and get to know the family and the child. To see the wish unfold is a beautiful experience.”
If you’re interested in making a difference in the lives of children like Kona and their families, learn more about becoming a wish granter here. “Being a wish granter allows for the opportunity to be aware of more members within a person’s own community and being able to participate in something apart from their current life situations,” said Jen. “Letting a child know that they are not alone and that there are members of their community who want to spend time with them and show them how important they are is so vital to life here in Hawaii and beyond.”