A week of strolling on the beach, participating in a luau and taking a boat tour of a Hawaiian paradise. For 17-year-old Haley, she couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate her health, her family and the blessings that are often taken for granted, including the ability to walk.
Just a few years ago, Haley thought she might be spending the rest of her life in a wheelchair. After being diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma on December 11, 2011, a complication from chemotherapy treatments left her without the ability to move her feet or toes. After finding extensive nerve damage in her legs and arms, doctors told her to be prepared that she may never walk again.
Just a week before her 16th birthday, she started to make a recovery. She was able regain movement in her ankles and toes. After almost two years of physical therapy, Haley, now in remission, is able to walk again.
Haley described her Hawaii wish to photographer Anne Canon
, who took photographs of her wish, as a “true, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” and “an amazing time where I was able to spend it with my family and forget all of the stressful things life causes on a day-to-day basis.”
“We learned to never take health for granted and always be here for each other,” said Haley. “Hawaii let us see a different side of the beauty that God has created. Without that wonderful opportunity, we would never appreciate life the way we do now. At any moment, your life can be changed in a split second, forever. Instead of us being afraid to live our lives and become normal again, we now have the faith and determination that whatever life brings our way, we, as a family can handle and overcome anything.”
While Haley’s favorite part of her wish was seeing the island’s beauty and the wildlife, she also enjoyed a Na Pali coast boat tour and a luau at the Grand Hyatt. Everywhere she went, Haley was treated like a princess. Every day, there were surprises waiting for her at her hotel, The Sheraton Kauai, including a flower that they gave her to wear in her hair, cupcakes in their refrigerator and a pink towel for trips to the ocean or pool. Every employee was friendly, caring and helped to make Haley’s wish special. From the service at the hotel to the gift of being able to enjoy leisurely walks along the beach, Haley’s week was one that she will never forget.