Dear Make a Wish:
Thank you so much for making Jonnie’s wish come true to swim with the dolphins. You have truly made a little girl happy beyond words can describe.
Jonnie loved seeing Kris again and meeting Linda from Make a Wish.
Jonnie was surprised to get a present that included a Make a Wish Hat, Make a Wish T-Shirt and Travel bag that included, a Make a Wish bracelet, swimsuit, pajama, coloring book, swim wrap towel, camera and photo album.
Kris and Linda walked us through the vacation package. We were all so excited to hear about our planned activities in the island of Oahu and our home for 6 days and 5 nights:
- getting picked up by a stretch limo to be driven to the airport
- our flight information and special instructions
- arrival in Hawaii and greeting by lei greeters
- our mini-van reserved just for us
- our stay at the Hyatt Regency
- Surf school for the entire family
- Swimming with the dolphins for Jonnie exclusively
- authentic Luau
- flight home
- and the limo ride home from the airport
- there are even a couple of free days to go anywhere on the island
We loved the letter. The letter took us through the trip in detail and it contained all the instructions, directions and confirmation numbers for each activity that we needed to enjoy this fabulous and unbelievable trip.
What a special 10th birthday this is for Jonnie! On Jonnie’s birthday, August 22nd, Jonnie was the first to get ready and jump into the Limousine at 5:00 AM. We took a group shot and enjoyed the ride to the airport.
As the girls would say, OMG! This was absolutely the most beautiful limo we have ever been in.
Here’s Duke, our limo driver. We even stopped at Starbucks and grabbed our favorite early morning beverage. We had fun playing with the knobs to turn on the air, play with the radio and turn on the colorful lights in the limo. We felt fabulously rich sipping cold 7up from the bar. Being driven was extra special!
For the first time in 3 years, Jonnie enjoyed the plane ride, free of any pains she experienced last time she was on a plane. She listened to the radio as she lip-synced to songs on the radio and danced in her chair by the window.
When we arrived at the Honolulu airport, just as the detailed itinerary read, we were greeted with fragrant leis and welcomed by Kenui Lei Greeters. We were so touched by one of the greeters, who had tears in his eyes when he met Jonnie.
A bright red mini-van was reserved for us to take to the Hyatt Regency Hotel and to use for 6 days.
The room at the Hyatt Regency was such as a grand, beautiful and perfect room. It had views of fabulous Waikiki. It was right across from the beach, had a balcony and had plenty of room for the 5 of us. We spent the rest of the day at the Beach and the pool, had dinner and bought cakes to celebrate Jonnie’s Birthday. As you can see, she couldn’t wish for anything better than this trip!
The next day (August 23), we enjoyed a Trolley ride to breakfast and hula show hosted by Pleasant Hawaiian. That morning, we drove to the north shore of Oahu and enjoyed snorkeling where the locals go, Sharks Cove. Jonnie saw many many fishes, large and small. Jonnie said the largest fish was 1 foot long.
Following Sharks Cove, we went to Turtle Bay where tortoises frequent, another local place to snorkel.
On Sunday (August 24), we had breakfast at McDonalds to try a local favorite, Spam and rice.
That day, Make a Wish treated Jonnie and the whole family to Hawaiian Fire Surf School. A shuttle picked us up and brought to the Barbers Point (west coast of Oahu). According to the instructors, this was the ideal place to learn how to surf, since the surfs were smaller and the beach less crowded. Jonnie had such a time of her life. You would never know that just 4 days before, she finished chemotherapy for the month.
Here she is with her private instructor, Erica.
Jonnie’s getting the hang of it.
…and she’s a natural.
Jonnie’s sister, Ricki was doing well and having fun.
Big sister, Frankie was loving it, too.
After surfing, we had a couple of hours to shop for souvenirs at the Stadium before catching the The Society of Seven dinner show. That was so much fun. We shopped at the ABC stores (one in every corner) and Jonnie bought 2 mirror-light up key chains that said Hawaii and 2 froggy-boxing light-up pens.
On Monday morning (August 25th), we snorkeled at Waimea Beach and Jonnie dove off the cliff, just like one of the adults. She dove off the highest point, which was about a 25ft dive. Yikes!
That afternoon, Jonnie met and swam with two dolphins, Kai Nalu and Niele. This was the highlight of the entire trip; to fulfill Jonnie’s wish to swim with the Dolphins. Jonnie was so tickled and couldn’t stop smiling. She learned so much about Dolphins. In her diary entry that she shared, she wrote, “Did you know that dolphins never actually sleep? They rest half of their brains and are always aware of their surroundings?”
Here’s Kai Nalu. His name means Ocean Wave.
What a smile……
Dancing with Kai Nalu.
Here’s Niele. His name means nosy.
After dinner, we did some more shopping at the International Market and Jonnie bought a white pearl necklace.
The next morning, Tuesday (August 26), we visited the Iolani Palace, where Jonnie learned about Queen, Liliuokalani. We spent the rest of the day at Waikiki Beach, just across from our Hotel and also swam in the pool.
For dinner that evening, a bus took us to the Paradise Cove Luau. There, we rode the canoe, threw spears, made leis, watched an amazing show and had the best feast in town. Jonnie especially enjoyed the fire dancing and the food.
There’s Jonnie rowing.
On our last day (August 27), we dropped off our car and waited for our flight at the airport. We identified Jonnie as a Make A Wish traveler and the Supervisor on duty, Ben Brennon made us his guest at United’s VIP Lounge. There, Jonnie and her sisters enjoyed a snack which included fruit cup, cheese, crackers, chips, shortbread and various drinks. Mom and Dad enjoyed a really good cup of coffee. What an enjoyable way to wait for our flight.
When it was time to board, our United Ticket Agent boarded us ahead of time. Before take off, the flight attendant brought Jonnie to meet with CaptainTed Childers and First Officer, Honi Garvin. Jonnie got to sit in the captain’s chair and see what a cockpit looks like.
When we arrived at the San Francisco airport, Duke, our Limo driver from KML Limo, picked us up in the white Limo.
On the ride home, we talked about how much fun we had and we simply didn’t want it to end.
Jonnie said that the highlight of the trip was definitely swimming with the dolphins, then….surfing, snorkeling at Shark’s Cove, the Luau, jumping off the cliffs at Waimea Bay, and shopping at the International Market, in that order. Jonnie’s wish ended when we arrived safely home from a magical wonderful trip that kept Jonnie and all of us smiling.
A special thank you to Kris and Linda. Thank you so much, Make a Wish, for such a wonderful and magical trip!
From the Liang Family: John, Lucy, Frankie, Ricki and Jonnie