When Kate was 12-years-old, she was diagnosed with an aggressive form of neuroblastoma. She was quickly forced to trade in her dancing shoes and piano recitals for chemotherapy treatments and online coursework (while she recovered). Her original treatment plan called for a year of chemotherapy, and although Kate was immediately referred for a wish, she wanted to wait until she was in remission to travel.
Unfortunately, her original treatment plan was unsuccessful, and eventually one year turned into three as she and her family traveled from Salt Lake City to San Francisco to New York for treatments and medical trials. About two years after being diagnosed, Kate told her family she needed something positive to look forward to and declared her wish to go to Hawaii.
Kate turned out to be an expert trip-planner. Prior to her wish, she spent weeks researching the best shrimp trucks in the area, and exploring which beaches she and her family should visit first. She immersed herself in planning snorkeling excursions and where to eat dinner each night of the trip—by the time she and her family made it to Hawaii, Kate had an entire itinerary ready to go.
Kate and her family checked off each of the items on her list, and even had the chance to swim with dolphins and visit the Polynesian Cultural Center. It was here she picked up her favorite keepsake, a ukulele. She even started taking ukulele lessons when she returned home.
Kate’s mom said that more than anything, the wish process gave Kate an element of hope during a difficult time. “I think that when you’re going through something so devastating, especially for a child, having something positive to focus your energy on is like a light,” she explained. “The positive energy that comes through the planning and anticipation of something like that creates happiness.”