At the age of 13, Mackayla was diagnosed with cancer which limited sight in her right eye. Her treatment plan consisted of high doses of chemotherapy and radiation. Throughout this process, Mackayla’s resolve never wavered.
“Mackayla handled the whole cancer situation with such strength and really inspired others with how strong she was throughout it,” Said Mackayla’s mom.
During Mackayla’s medical treatments, she was introduced to Make-A-Wish Utah. Throughout the process of making her wish, Mackayla knew that she wanted to go on a trip somewhere tropical with beaches and water to play in. It was also important to Mackayla that her whole family got to come with her, as they had grown extremely close throughout her battle with cancer. While researching options for her wish, Mackayla learned about Atlantis Paradise Island in the Bahamas. After seeing pictures, she immediately told her mom they had to go there for her wish trip. The summer after she finished her chemotherapy and radiation treatments, she was cleared to go on her wish trip to Atlantis..
When Mackayla boarded the plane that would take her to the Bahamas, the pilot invited her to the cockpit and let her wear his hat and sit in his seat. At the resort, her family’s favorite attractions were The Current, a rapid lazy-river; and The Leap of Faith, a 60-foot almost-vertical drop slide from the top of the Mayan Temple that cuts through a clear acrylic tunnel submerged in a shark-filled lagoon. Mackayla also vividly remembers and talks about swimming with Sasha the dolphin.
Overall, Mackayla’s mom said their wish experience strengthened the entire family. “(Mackayla’s wish) was a family time to celebrate her and be together as a family,” she explained. Mackayla is now in the middle of high school, plays volleyball and basketball, and is very outgoing and social.