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For the first time in his life, James, 5, is able to play at the beach

  • James and his family ready to board an Allegiant flight to Hawaii.

  • First night in Hawaii, and James was already in the water.

  • James, playing in the sand for the first time.

  • James swimming in the ocean with all the fish.

  • James all ready to start building sand castles.

  • James enjoying a delicious tropical smoothie topped with an umbrella.

  • James about to swim with the dolphins at the Dolphin Quest.

  • James on the Atlantis submarine seeing all the colorful fish and ocean wonders.

  • With his wavy hair, who wouldn't think James was a Hawaiian native?

“ James would have stayed on the beach all day. ”


- Samantha, James' mom

It’s not often that one gets to wake up to sea turtles and clear blue waters right outside the window, but James, 5, who wished to experience sea-life in Hawaii, was able to catch a glimpse of sea turtles every day during his wish.

When James found out that he would be receiving a wish from Make-A-Wish® Arizona, he knew he would wish to go to Hawaii with his family, swimming and snorkeling with colorful fish and sea turtles.

James’ parents often call him a fish out of water, with his love for the big blue and every creature found underneath the waves. “James is very into the ocean and ocean-life. One of his ocean books talked about Hawaii and since then, he has wanted to visit,” said Samantha, James’ mom. James loves sea animals and sea turtles so much that his parents nicknamed him “Turtle.”

“I wanted to see the sea turtles like from Finding Nemo,” James said. “I really like them and they are my favorite.”

His wish experience did not disappoint. Not only did James get to see turtles and snorkel, but he was able to swim with the dolphins and go on a submarine “all the way under the water.” According to James, he even got to feed a “slimy squid” to his dolphin, Kolohe, and teach him new tricks.

In his downtime James spent time with his mom and dad on the beach building sandcastles and swimming. In fact, he was very proud that he could touch the ocean floor with his bare feet while swimming. “It was the perfect moment,” said Samantha. “He has never been able to play in sand and water like that because of his condition.”

By the time his wish was wrapping up, James was fitting in very well at his new home away from home. “I had people ask me if I was a native,” said James. “They said I had surfer hair.”   

“If James could have stayed on the beach all day, every day, we think he would have,” said Samantha. “It was the perfect wish for him, and Make-A-Wish Arizona made it effortless for us. It was the first time in a long time that our family was able to enjoy the moment and be with each other without having to worry about hospital visits and medical bills.”

James may look like a Hawaiian, but his heart and his family is in Arizona, and his wish was made possible thanks to our generous sponsors and donors, incluiding Allegiant® Air, Make-A-Wish® Hawaii, Sheraton® Waikiki, Dolphin Quest® and Atlantis Submarines®.

Each company helped to make James' week in Hawaii more than he could have ever imagined.

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Make-A-Wish® Arizona
2901 North 78th Street
Scottsdale, AZ 85251
(602) 395-9474
Toll Free (800) 324-9474