16-Year-Old Cancer Survivor Receives Wish of a Lifetime Aboard the Hōkūleʻa

The Polynesian voyaging canoe Hōkūleʻa welcomed special guests Sunday as she sailed from her home port at Sand Island to her final Hawai‘i stop of the Mālama Hawaiʻi portion of the Worldwide Voyage, Ko Olina. On board was Wish Kid Colin, his mom, his brother Chase and his aunt; Colin was receiving his wish-come-true.

Colin takes the helm of the Hokulea

Colin takes the helm of the Hokulea

After facing a life-threatening diagnosis of alveolar rhabdomyasarcoma, countless treatments and hospital stays, Colin’s one true wish was to travel to O‘ahu for a sailing experience, and the Polynesian Voyaging Society (PVS) partnered with Make-A-Wish® Hawaii to grant his wish. PVS crewmembers were quick to volunteer to support Colin’s wish – many of those on Sunday’s voyage were cancer survivors themselves.

Colin has had a life-long love for sailing that started with sailing excursions with his dad who was in the Navy and a sailor at heart. Tom, Colin’s father, passed away very suddenly and unexpectedly in January 2010, and then Colin was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of cancer two years later. Today, Colin can say he is cancer clear and he felt this wish would not only realize his passion, but honor his family, particularly his father, as well.

Colin and brother Chase

Colin and brother Chase

Once under sail, a pule, prayer, was said and introductions were made, as is traditional. During the sail, Colin and Chase (10) helped to steer the waʻa and participated in story telling exchanges with the crew. Colin’s mom and aunt did not hop on the sweep, but actively shared stories with the crew. It was a happy sunset sail, with a lot of laughter and learning.

“We are incredibly honored to work with Polynesian Voyaging Society to help make Colin’s wish come true,” said Siana Hunt, President and CEO Make-A-Wish Hawaii. “We believe that a wish can be powerful medicine for children battling life-threatening conditions and we would not be able to bring wishes true without the support of our community; the type of incredible support shown by PVS with Colin’s wish. Colin was shown the true spirit of aloha and we couldn’t be more grateful for PVS’s involvement.”

Nainoa Thompson

Nainoa Thompson

As the sail completed, Master navigator Nainoa Thompson told Colin “you are a star of hope.” Colin smiled and said the sail was just as he imagined it would be.

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