When Arlo thought about his wish, he had a pretty clear idea of what it would look like. He wanted to go on a big cruise ship, swim in the ocean and “have someone bring him lots of food.”
But Arlo’s first introduction to Make-A-Wish Arizona came as a bit of a surprise.
"His aunt was the one who referred him for a wish,” said Kathryn, Arlo’s mom. “I have two kids with cystic fibrosis and I had no idea they would be eligible. It was really exciting to find out both of them could receive a wish.”
Arlo’s family moved to a small town in Northern Arizona three years ago, so he knew right away that he wanted to travel somewhere tropical and, most importantly, somewhere warm.
“It gets really cold and snows here so I wished to go to Hawaii because I had never been there before and they have the best beaches,” said Arlo, who had it all planned out and decided to go on a Norwegian cruise around the Hawaiian Islands.
The news that his wish was coming true came at the perfect time!
“We got the call from our wish granter volunteers in January and our family was definitely ready for some warmer weather,” said Kathryn.
“My husband and I are in our last semester of nursing school, which takes us away from our boys physically and emotionally. We haven’t traveled anywhere in the past few years, so this was the opportunity that Arlo needed and a way for our family to be together again.”
Once Arlo’s family boarded the ship, it was smooth sailing from there.
“They had a hot tub and I could play video games in the arcade and eat junk food whenever I wanted,” said Arlo, who definitely had his fill of good eats. “I had French fries every day for lunch and dinner! It was the best!”
Arlo also enjoyed wearing his own captain’s hat and touring the ship to see how it operates. But even during his wish, Arlo still faced a dose of reality every morning and every night.
“He needs breathing treatments two times a day for his cystic fibrosis,” said Kathryn. “Arlo can do his treatments by himself now, but he is just 11 years old and this trip gave him the chance to enjoy being a kid again by doing the things he loves.”
Arlo’s wish trip wouldn’t be complete without some remarkable excursions off the ship, like driving around the island of Maui, seeing Rainbow Falls in Hilo and snorkeling in Kona.
“One day, we went sailing on a catamaran and saw so many dolphins. Then, we spent a whole day at the beach watching the boys laugh and play in the waves,” Kathryn said.
“The black sand beach was my favorite,” said Arlo. “We even saw a sea turtle and it was different that any beach I’ve ever been to before. I loved everything. This was definitely the best trip of my life!”
After Arlo’s parents finish nursing school, they plan to move back to the Valley this summer. Arlo is looking forward to going swimming again and soon his family will be leaving for his 5-year-old brother Ollie’s wish to California this summer.
“It’s hard having two kids with this disease, but they are both so different in ages and interests that the opportunity for each of them to have their own individual wish that gives them exactly what they need means everything to me,” said Kathryn. “I am so thankful for the opportunity to create these very special memories with my family.”