“It was a lot for a teenager to deal with,” said Owen’s mother, Julie.
In January of 2016, 15-year-old Owen was told he had a brain tumor that metastasized to his spine. He underwent countless surgeries, chemotherapy and protein radiation continually over the next year. As this grueling and draining process took Owen further and further away from what was normality, Make-A-Wish entered his life at just the right time.
“After experiencing a year no family should have to, Owen’s wish was revealed at Wish Night in Dallas,” said Julie.
Owen’s wish was to visit Hawaii – he’s always loved to explore!
“He was truly surprised and it definitely got him energized about the trip! He started to research Hawaii and all there is to do on the islands,” said Julie.
But though Owen was told he could go to Hawaii whenever he wanted, he used the future trip as a motivational tool to help him push through the exhausting and grueling treatment.
“He wanted to feel good for the trip,” Julie remembers. “He decided to wait until he was off treatment. The trip truly became the focal point of something for him to look forward to.”
When it finally came time for the family adventure, Owen felt like a VIP, even before he arrived in Hawaii.
“People were so supportive to see us in our blue Make-A-Wish shirts,” Julie said. “Owen got high-fives from strangers and encouragement from so many folks along the way! Make-A-Wish is such a powerful and wonderful organization.”
Owen and his family enjoyed a 10-hour guided tour of the Road to Hana, saw the water falls in Maui, attended a traditional Hawaiian luau and even received a behind-the-scenes tour of the Maui Ocean Center.
“I think for us, the best part of the trip was just being together as a family outside of everything that has been going on,” Julie said. “There were no appointments, no worries, no tests and no stress the entire week. We could not have asked for anything better. We will always treasure our trip to Hawaii and it’s definitely helping the recovery process for Owen!”