My family and I went snorkeling on my wish. I remember looking over and seeing a giant sea turtle gliding through the warm, crystal-clear water. I could see his wise eyes and the unique pattern of his shell which reminded me of a kaleidoscope. It was an incredible moment that I will never forget. I chose to go to Hawaii because I had always wanted to experience the islands and their unique wildlife. I was so excited to have the opportunity to experience paradise.
The wish has impacted my outlook on life in such a positive way. It gave me the travel bug. Since graduating college, I have traveled to Hawaii almost every year, not just back to Maui, but to the other islands. I was able to go to Maui this year and stop by places I had been on my wish ten years prior; the experience of that was surreal and joyful. Walking around the massive banyan tree in Lahaina that takes up a whole block, multiple root systems all coming from one tree. I thought back to being there when I was sixteen, having just finished my chemo, and it made me cry. I feel lucky to be alive and to have been able to go back.
I would tell wish kids to take each moment at a time, even if it means taking each minute by minute to get through the day. I would tell them to take photos and write things down during their journey, the hard times and especially the happy times. It was helpful for me to look back at that time in my life to help me remember. Chemo brain doesn’t do well for the memory. Cherish little moments in life that have made you laugh. They are nice to look back at on the bad days.
I am a registered nurse and artist in Idaho. My future is one that I hope is filled with lots of amazing memories, traveling to many new countries, getting a dog and exploring new skills like mountain biking! I take each day as it comes. I am thankful for every moment I get to spend being on this earth and enjoying the ones I love.