James loved everything about his wish trip to Hawaii – from the waterslide and limo ride to the moonlight cruise and fancy luau food. “He was the ultimate tourist,” said his mom.
This trip comes at the end of a long journey for James and his family. In May 2012, when he was just 10 years old, doctors diagnosed James with a rare nervous system disorder. The once active little boy could no longer swim, climb trees, play in the park or even play computer games. His mom said Make-A-Wish Oregon played a large role in his recovery because the wish gave James something to look forward to – something to work toward. She said it motivated him to work harder during therapy so that he could walk on the warm beach, which was a big accomplishment for James. The family had a great time and James’ mom said he felt strong during his wish.
Music brings her joy, so Make-A-Wish® Oregon teamed up local singer and American Idol contestant Candice Russell to grant Blue’s wish to be in a music video. Portland-based video production company Visual Aid, Inc. created the video, which featured Russell’s song “So Much More” and highlighted some of Blue’s favorite activities, such as swimming and being with her family. The smile on Blue’s face that day was unmistakable.
For her and her family, the wish experience was more than something fun to look back upon. It marked a turning point. “Blue wasn’t doing well in the beginning,” explained Blue’s mom Cyndy. “Since she made the wish, she’s been getting better and better – more alert, more comfortable around people.”
Sixteen-year-old Leena has read the Lord of the Rings trilogy three times and has watched the movies four times. Now she has experienced it. Make-A-Wish® Oregon recently granted Leena’s wish to go see the Lord of the Rings movie set in New Zealand - her first overseas trip. Her favorite part of the tour was being able to peek inside Bilbo’s house and take a picture in front of his lush, green garden. “I felt really great. For a while I was almost in shock because I couldn’t believe it was happening.”
Leena’s mom said the wish came at a great time for Leena, who has been battling the ups and downs of cystic fibrosis. She said the greatest joy was watching her daughter have so much fun on the trip.