Have you ever had a really big wish? A dream that felt so big it could not possibly come true? Or could it?
Last week, an amazing group of kids and their families came to Kauai to surf with Bethany Hamilton in Hanalei Bay with Make-A-Wish Hawaii. More than 1,400 keiki from across the islands and over 15,000 kids from the U.S. mainland and around the world have experienced the life-changing impact of a wish here in Hawaii.
This year, more than 1,200 kids will visit Hawaii for their most heartfelt wishes — four of them had a very special wish to surf with Bethany Hamilton on the Garden Island of Kauai.
Make-A-Wish invited some awesome young women and their families to surf, splash, swim and dance in the rain, surrounded by magical Hanalei Bay. Emma, 12, from Texas, has cystic fibrosis. Alexandra, 8, from Washington, and Brinkley, 15, from Missouri, have leukemia. Laken, 15, from Minnesota, has a nervous system disorder. All got to experience what it is like to ride a wave for the first time.
Make-A-Wish Hawaii has been granting life-changing wishes since 1982, and the first local wish was granted in 1984 to a young boy from Hilo whose wish was to go to Disneyland. Fast forward to 2019.
Last week the wish kids visiting Hawaii were hanging out and catching waves with Bethany Hamilton, for an unforgettable wish come true.
She partnered once again with Make-A-Wish Hawaii to make four young women’s dreams come true. The graciousness of her charity work and her “Unstoppable” motto are inspiring to people across the globe.
“I know life can be hard,” she says, “but I have learned that we can rise above even the biggest challenges and fears. No matter where you’ve come from, or what you are facing, you are loved by God, and you can overcome.”
Bethany became famous around the world at the tender age of 13 when she encountered a shark while surfing a break on Kauai’s North Shore and lost her left arm. Now at the age of 29, Bethany is more than just a world-class surfer with a huge heart. She has added wife, mom and entrepreneur to her super status.
On average, it takes the amazing efforts of about 200 people to make just one wish a reality. Donors, vendors, local businesses and community supporters who help fund, organize and support Make-A-Wish kids get to witness the beauty of creating an act of pure love that delivers strength, sparks imagination and brings together a community.
Even in the rain, the stoke was there, and spirits were high.
Trini Kaopuiki Clark, the new president and CEO at Make-A-Wish Hawaii, along with KORE (Kauai Ocean Recreation Experience) Kauai, led by retired Kauai Fire Department Capt. Kurt Leong, led a passionate group of watermen and women to support the event and kept everyone safe in the water and on land.
The surf sessions were a huge success, and everyone who shared the day with Bethany will remember long after the wish kids go home, if you make a wish, dreams DO come true.
w Bethany Hamilton and her recent re-launch of https://bethanyhamilton.com/ and the invitation to “Get my top 4 ways to live an unstoppable life” is worth the click.
w To see what’s happening locally and statewide at Make-A-Wish Hawaii, volunteer or donate, https://hawaii.wish.org/