Joseph's family will never forget the smile on his face when they received the news that Make-A-Wish® Alaska and Washington would grant his wish to go to Hawaii. Excited to finally enjoy the sweet ocean breeze on his face and salt water on his feet, Joseph and his family made the journey from Alaska to Oahu for five, action-packed days of fun in the sun.
Joseph and his family explored all that the island had to offer, including plenty of beach time, a visit to the Honolulu Zoo and the Sea Life Park, and hiking on the scenic Pali Lookout trail. Joseph also had the opportunity to ride in a helicopter, touring the island paradise. "He [has] always wanted to take his younger brother on a plane ride, and this was his chance," shared Joseph's father, Tou. It was a much-needed and well deserved vacation for the entire family after years of stress.
In 2008, Joseph underwent a hearing test at his elementary school where the nurse discovered some hearing loss in his right ear. "A MRI confirmed that there was a tumor on the base of his skull. It came as a surprise to us," said Tou.
Joseph underwent surgery to remove the tumor, but like many wish children, had to leave home for the best possible treatment. Joseph and his dad said goodbye to their family and travelled more than 4,500 miles to Boston, which would become their home for several months.
"Make-A-Wish made it possible for our family to come together and enjoy life again," said Tou. "With all of this going on, we really needed a time when we [could] be with one another and just forget about all the bad things that happened so far."
Although traveling to Hawaii, building a sand castle, and enjoying a helicopter tour was Joseph's wish, it was a wish come true that their whole family had this opportunity to enjoy together. "Thanks to Make-A-Wish, our family had our first vacation together and it was great. We left all the bad memories behind for that week and enjoyed life again," said Tou.
Special thanks: Wish granting volunteers Tiffany Pinkston and Teresa Horst