As the bamboo trees parted, wild monkeys roaming around an ancient temple entered Kellan’s eye line. He did it! He made it to the top of Iwata mountain in Kyoto, Japan. As he turned around to take in the view overlooking the city below, he was mesmerized.
“I never thought in a million years I would be able to go to Japan,” Kellan said.
Just months after he was born, Kellan’s parents noticed he had an unusual amount of birthmarks covering his body. After meeting with a specialist and several tests, Kellan was diagnosed with a genetic disorder causing tumors to grow all over his body. Over the past 18 years Kellan has endured regular MRI’s, doctors’ appointments, surgeries to remove tumors, speech, physical and occupational therapies, missed school days and more.
When Kellan discovered he was eligible to receive a wish from Make-A-Wish® Minnesota, he immediately knew what he wanted to wish for: a trip to Japan! He had been studying the language in school for years and couldn’t wait to experience the culture firsthand.
Just three months before his trip, Kellan underwent surgery to remove a tumor from his spine. The thought of exploring Japan during his wish stayed at the forefront of his mind, motivating him to work hard in physical therapy to increase his stamina. He didn’t want to miss out on the full Japanese experience.
In June of 2018, Kellan and his family were headed to Tokyo, Japan. They spent a week exploring the city, trying new foods, seeing the sites and even rode the bullet train.
Kellan’s wish not only brought his family closer together, but gave him the chance to share his knowledge and passion with them. The experience has also given him a new-found confidence and desire to see the world.
“It was amazing to see him take the lead and to see how much we all enjoyed it,” said Kellan’s mom, Jill. “It meant so much to Kellan to share his love of Japan with us.”
YOU can help bring strength, confidence and freedom to wish kids like Kellan! Donate today to create life-changing experiences to Minnesota kids with critical illnesses.