It was a wish experience of firsts for Jaiden, 8, who decided to bring his entire family to Hawaii for his one true wish.
It was the first time Jaiden had ever been on a plane, and he was given VIP treatment. His Hawaiian Air captain announced his arrival and gave him some time in the cockpit, where Jaiden was able to take control on the steering wheel but was very careful not to bump any buttons.
“There were all kinds of green and red buttons in the cockpit,” Jaiden said. “And it was really tight! They had to move the chair and the steering wheel so I could get out even.”
Once they were in the air, the wish started to get more real for Jaiden, who was excited to be looking out a plane’s window to spot the islands in the water instead of looking out the window of his clinic during treatments for his leukemia. “The islands looked like rocks in the ocean from the plane but I could see the big island before we started landing,” he continued.
On the island, Jaiden and family enjoyed regular breakfast on the hotel’s rooftop lounge, planning their days’ adventures. One day included a trip around the island to the West Coast and the North Shore.
The family tried surfing at Waikiki Beach, with private lessons for Jaiden. According to mom Sandra, Jaiden was pretty fearless until his dad, Stacey, had a little spill into some hard coral.
“After Stacey fell, Jaiden decided he had tried enough to stand up,” said Sandra. “But we were glad that we all tried it!”
The next day was another first for everyone, swimming with the dolphins.
“I got into the water with the dolphins and held on to their backs and they took off!” Jaiden said. “It was so fast and then they did tricks for us.”
From big fish to little fish, the family spent the next day snorkeling in the ocean, with Jaiden spotting fish of all colors.
“I snorkeled in my pool but never with fish swimming all around me,” said Jaiden. A full day in the warm waters (because his mom promised warm ocean waters) and playing on the beach led to some fun in the evening as well. Jaiden and family went to a restaurant near their hotel, where he ordered a sandwich that was two feet long!
“It was huge!” he said. “They had to cut it down into pieces so that we could all pick it up.”
A supersize ending to a supersize trip that according to Jaiden, was exactly what he wished for.
“I loved it,” said Jaiden. “I tell everyone I had so much fun!”