A stomach flu that would not go away turned out to be 13-year-old Kennedy’s worst nightmare. Over the busy holiday season two years ago, Kennedy came down with the stomach flu. Kennedy’s stomach flu persisted.
Doctors discovered tumors on her liver and delivered the devastating news that Kennedy had hepatocellular carcinoma, a form of liver cancer. Kennedy endured multiple rounds of aggressive chemotherapy and subsequently, a liver transplant. Throughout her treatments, Kennedy longed for an escape from her daily challenges of living with a critical illness.
Kennedy was able to leave her worries behind when her one true wish to go to Hawaii was granted by Make-A-Wish Minnesota this past winter. Kennedy spent a blissful week with her family on the beautiful island of Maui surfing, snorkeling and spending as much time as they could on the beach. Kennedy even saw a reef shark on her snorkeling adventure!
“When we went surfing, I was so excited and nervous too. It was so much fun and I really liked it,” Kennedy said. “It was fun to play in the ocean and jump in the waves! I also got to use a boogie board in the waves,” she said.
“My favorite memory of the trip is definitely seeing Kennedy's wish of surfing in Hawaii come true,” said Kennedy’s mother, Heidi. “She was a natural and appeared to be so in her element. It was spectacular and brings tears to my eyes just thinking about it."
Kennedy’s wish gave Kennedy and her family the opportunity to spend time together as a family and lay down the burden of treatments. “We were able to "escape" for a week. It was truly the trip of a lifetime for our family,” Heidi said. “I don’t even think I can express in words how grateful we are and "thank you" just doesn't seem enough. We truly hope that someday we are in a position to send someone else's child and family on an amazing wish trip.”