When Zoe found out she was going to receive a wish, she knew right away that travel was a must.
“Zoe always talks about how she wants to be a world traveler and she loves Pokémon and Japanese food like Teppanyaki,” said her mom, Vanessa. “Going to Japan is not something we would do on a typical family vacation, so her wish created an incredible opportunity for Zoe to be the adventurer she wants to be.”
The wish trip was also a milestone in Zoe’s medical journey.
“Zoe was in and out of the hospital after being diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. To guard against infections, she stopped going to school in kindergarten and spent most her time at home,” Vanessa said. “Her wish was our first big trip since her diagnosis. It gave Zoe something to look forward to throughout her treatment.”
First, Zoe’s volunteer wish granters surprised her with books about Japan to help her get excited for her trip.
Zoe dreamed of visiting the Pokémon Center and experiencing the cherry blossoms. What she didn’t plan, but what happened naturally, was Zoe connecting with her brother.
“They are 17 months apart and like so many of the same things,” continued Vanessa. “Going to the Pokémon Center was definitely a highlight for Zoe and her brother. To see them talking together, running from place to place and connecting over this same love, it was almost like the trip returned Zoe to us, and to her brother.”
The entire family enjoyed being fully immersed in the culture of Japan and learning about the history of the country. “You read about different places in books and online but being able to see them in real life is extraordinary.”
Zoe is only 9 years old, but she already has plans to travel the world in her future.
“Zoe still talks about Japan like she is going to go again tomorrow! Now, she will have to figure out her next travel destination, but I think Japan will always be her favorite because of her wish.”