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“Make a Wish Foundation, primarily, their purpose is to grant wishes to children who have life threatening conditions to create a memorable experience that promotes positivity and hope,” said Aolani Kailihou, Wish Coordinator at Make-A-Wish Hawaiʻi.
Make-A-Wish Hawaiʻi coordinated with Make-A-Wish New Jersey and were able to answer the wish of a young boy named Collin.
“My son Collin went through a couple of things that were very difficult over the last couple of years, one of which was the passing of his father.. = He was a sailor and owned a lot of boats. Collin and him spent a lot of time on the water. And about 2 years after he passed, Collin was diagnosed with a very rare form of caner, and that treatment ended about one year ago,” said Tracey Ricci.
Fostering the sailing bond with his father, Collin learned of the Hōkūleʻa, and his interest in non-instrumental navigation and sailing began.
“So when it came time to grant a wish for Collin, his wish was to come to Hawaiʻi and experience Hōkūleʻa,” said Kailihou.
Instantly supporting his wish, the Polynesian Voyaging Society partnered with the Make-A-Wish foundation, and planned for a sail that both Collin and crewmembers will always remember.
“When you see this boy, you know he knows adversity. You know that his struggle is deeper than most, many of us on this canoe. And so when I look at Collin, the gift that he gives us is the gift of his mana about his journey, of his story, of his strength. and because of that story, we carry that with us. So when things do go bad, when we start to question why we are there, and we look for other areas of hope, we get to remember him,” said Nainoa Thompson.
Noting that the Worldwide Voyage will test the crew and canoe to its limits, Thompson is reminded of the physical, mental and spiritual strength that will be during the voyage.
“Today is not a day about cancer. Today is a day about strength. But it didn’t take long to see him, to touch him to hear him, to recognize he’s giving us the gift,” said Thompson.