When Kiana visualized her wish, she imagined herself floating in clear blue water near white Caribbean beaches.
“I’ve been to the beach in San Diego before, but I wanted to use my wish to go somewhere I had never been,” said Kiana. “I also wanted to snorkel and to zipline, so I did some research and found Jamaica. The pictures were so beautiful, and it was the one place that had everything I wanted to do on my trip.”
Kiana felt drawn to Jamaica’s laid-back and welcoming culture that was so different from the stressful hospital environment where she spent so much of her past few years.
“For months, I told doctors Kiana was having problems and she kept getting misdiagnosed; then we found out she had cancer. Kiana went through two and a half years of chemotherapy for her acute lymphoblastic leukemia,” said her mom, Suzette.
When Suzette learned her daughter was eligible for a wish, she was excited for Kiana.
“We were planning her wish during her treatment schedule, which was a great way to pass the time and provide some hope,” said Suzette. “Kiana’s wish turned into a celebration of her life after cancer.”
Kiana, along with her mom and dad, flew to Montego Bay where they spent the week ziplining, kayaking, snorkeling and yes, even relaxing in clear blue water.
“My favorite part was riding on the zipline over the jungle,” said Kiana. “I went over trees and a river and being so high up was kind of scary but really fun. We also went on a boat ride and I liked looking out at the ocean because the water was so beautiful.”
Kiana and her parents also enjoyed trying authentic Jamaican foods like jerk chicken, veggies and rice, but the best part of their week was simply enjoying time together.
“Experiencing another culture in another part of the world was so amazing,” said Suzette. “The people in Jamaica were so friendly and everyone has this positive vibe and lifestyle that we brought back with us to the states.”
“Kiana is so much happier now and more grateful for everything,” Suzette said. “She’s in the fifth grade and she’s looking forward to having some time for herself and relaxing this summer.”