Even though she was raised in Page, wish kid Allie now considers herself a ‘beach girl’ after her wish to go to Hawaii last year.
Allie was going through the beginning of treatment for leukemia when she was referred for a wish from Make-A-Wish Arizona.
“I will never forget what it felt like to be told my daughter has cancer. It makes my heart ache, still, and probably always will,” said Allie’s mom, Brittany. “When we received a call that Allie was approved for a wish, two wish granters came to visit Allie several times in the hospital getting to know her and what she likes.”
Allie told her volunteer wish granters, Michelle and Madison, her biggest wish was to go to Hawaii so she could swim with dolphins, see sea turtles, stay in a fancy hotel, and spend time at the beach.
“I have always wanted to go to Hawaii but, since I had a port, I wanted to wait until after it was out so I could swim and go to the ocean,” Allie said.
And wait she did. Her first round of treatments took eight months and required frequent, four-hour car rides to Cardon Children’s Medical Center, where she often had to stay the night. Being away from most of her family and going through treatments was tough on her.
“Having the wish to focus on was helpful,” said Brittany. “Her wish really made her think about what she would do when she was ‘feeling better’ and consider all her options for when her port was out.”
Halfway through her treatment, doctors gave Allie the go-ahead to take off for the islands.
“This was Allie’s first time on an airplane that wasn’t a plane flying her to the hospital,” said Brittany. “It was a huge blessing after a terrible year and every single day we were there just kept getting better and better.”
Allie and her family enjoyed swimming at the beach each day, but her favorite part was snorkeling in two different reefs and spotting a sea turtle just a few feet from where she was swimming!
“[The sea turtle] swam up next to me and was heading to the surface to get some air so I had to swim a little backwards to get out of its way because you aren’t allowed to touch them,” she said. “It was huge and it was right there!”
“It was definitely her favorite day,” Brittany concurs. “Allie almost started crying when our time on the boat was over.”
Allie also swam with dolphins, splashing her brothers and watching them dance in the water. Just like the dolphins, Allie too learned to dance with private hulu lessons in the hotel.
“We went to the flea market one day and I bought jewelry and dresses for me and my friends and I wore the dress to the luau that night,” said Allie. “Everyone was doing the hula dances and I knew what they were doing because of my lessons.”
When Allie returned from her trip, she knew she would have another round of time at the hospital to treat her leukemia but she wasn’t as afraid as she was before her trip. In fact, she came prepared.
“Allie had bracelets for all her staff at the clinic and the nurses who have become her friends on the seventh floor,” said Brittany. “She told them that she brought them all a piece of Hawaii because her wish was so perfect.”
“This has been, without a doubt, the most challenging year of our lives, physically, mentally, financially and emotionally. But Allie’s wish gave us priceless memories that I will hold close to my heart forever,” Brittany continued. “It was more than a vacation. This trip was truly everything she needed just when she needed it, for Allie and for our family.”