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KaiLynn devours the food and culture of Japan

  • KaiLynn's favorite part was everything, but especially the Ghibli Museum.

  • "Weight gain has always been KaiLynn’s biggest struggle and she actually gained weight since her trip,” Ann said. "Her nutritionist thinks she should move to Japan!"

  • KaiLynn's weight gain improved since her trip, and she is healthier because of it.

  • KaiLynn, 14, wished to go to Japan.

  • KaiLynn and her sister, Ray Anne, in the "shuttle"

  • KaiLynn and her sister, Ray Anne, ride the monorail

  • The Kawaii Monster Cafe was a highlight of the trip.

  • “Ms. Tanaka (our tour guide) was willing to help us lift their wheelchairs over things in the way and showed us how to navigate the train, subway, and monorail systems," said Ann.

  • KaiLynn loved visiting Sanrio Puroland.

  • KaiLynn and her sister, Ray Anne, pose on top of a moon.

  • KaiLynn, 14, wished to go to Japan.

  • KaiLynn, 14, wished to go to Japan.

“ It was heartwarming to see KaiLynn having such a great time. We were all able to enjoy just being together without thinking about anything medical. ”


- Ann, KaiLynn's mom

KaiLynn’s diagnosis of a critical genetic condition means multiple doctor’s appointments and hours of therapy each month. When she does have time for herself, KaiLynn is the happiest when she’s eating Japanese food and watching anime.

“I really like the culture of Japan, so I chose to travel there for my wish,” said KaiLynn. And her trip couldn’t come at a better time.

KaiLynn was approved to travel for her wish before her next major spinal surgery, which enabled her to take a break from her condition and focus on creating the perfect trip to hit all the Japanese hot spots on her list.

The trip was an adventure for everyone: KaiLynn, her mom, dad, sister Ray Anne and their tour guide, Ms. Tanaka.

“Ms. Tanaka was willing to help us lift their wheelchairs over things in the way and showed us how to navigate the train, subway, and monorail systems. We went on all three in one day!” said KaiLynn’s mom, Ann.

“It was incredibly humbling to see KaiLynn on her wish,” she continued. “She was in heaven the entire time – all the food, culture, and of course anime – it was heartwarming to see her having such a great time. We were all able to enjoy just being together without thinking about anything medical.”

KaiLynn loved visiting Sanrio Puroland, also known as Hello Kitty Town, the Kawaii Monster Café, and Japanese temples and museums like teamLab Borderless.

“TeamLab Borderless was incredible. The digital art and animations were breathtaking. We really lost track of time here. Just when you thought you'd seen it all they change all the art and animation and you go through it all again,” said KaiLynn.

KaiLynn’s trip was also beneficial from a medical standpoint.

“She wanted to eat everything she saw the entire trip. Weight gain has always been KaiLynn’s biggest struggle and she actually gained weight since her trip,” Ann said. “Now, she only eats out of Japanese-style bowls and uses chopsticks, which is a huge occupational therapy win. Her nutritionist thinks she should move to Japan!”

The wish had such a big impact on KaiLynn that she decided to create a vlog of her trip with her sister after they returned, so they could share their experience with others.

“I loved everything, but my favorite part was the Studio Ghibli Museum.  They had exhibits showing how the animations worked and rooms upstairs with every Studio Ghibli movie,” said KaiLynn, whose most recent adventure was starting high school this fall.


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Make-A-Wish® Arizona
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