Mackenzie didn’t think she deserved a wish, but was excited about the prospect of having one.
When Angie Corcoran, one of her volunteer wish granters, met with her, she knew exactly what her wish would be. “I wanted to go to Hawaii and see the blue water. I like to dance and wanted to go to a luau and learn how to hula,” said Mackenzie. Mackenzie was sure of one more thing: she wanted to be finished with her treatment before the wish happened.
Mackenzie shared that while going through treatment, she was able to look forward to her Hawaii wish and it gave her more confidence. She knew she could finish treatment and when it was over, she and her family would be in Hawaii celebrating the end of an unexpected journey. While she was busy fighting Hodgkin’s lymphoma, Make-A-Wish Iowa was busy planning her wish to go to Hawaii.
Mackenzie’s last chemotherapy treatment was September 8th. “She still has to have checks regularly, but we’re done with treatment – no radiation and no more chemotherapy,” said Carolyn.
Less than two months later, her family of six boarded a plane and headed out to make Mackenzie’s wish a reality. The family landed in Maui for their week-long trip and was greeted with flower leis. While there, they experienced Hawaii in every way they could.
Skyline Eco Adventures took them on the Haleakala Skyline Tour, which combined a half-mile forest hike with five ziplines that took the family over gulches and through trees. Maui Classic Charters took the family out for a snorkeling adventure and a glass bottom boat ride.
Later, the family got to go to the Drums of the Pacific Luau where Mackenzie, her mom and two sisters were greeted with flower leis and her dad and brother received shell leis. There they enjoyed Hawaiian music, hula lessons, poi ball lessons, coconut tree climbing and a dinner that included Polynesian food and more entertainment.
“I loved the luau,” remembered Mackenzie. “There were hula dancers and guys twirling fire sticks. It was so cool to get to do things we can’t do in Iowa, like surfing, zip lining and snorkeling.” The entire family took part and even got a brief lesson in surfing from Big Kahuna Adventures. All of the kids were able to get up on the board, but it was a little more difficult for her parents.
“I think my favorite part was watching the kids surfing and having fun together,” remembers Carolyn. “The scenery was beautiful, of course, so we had family photos taken there – I think that and zip lining were my favorite memories from the trip.”
“This experience of going through cancer has had a big impact on our whole family. It’s changed us. Our kids are more loving toward each other and there’s definitely more awareness of life,” said Carolyn.