Big Isle teen with leukemia has Disney wish fulfilled


POSTED: Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Thirteen-year-old Makanalani Oke Akua Konanui and her family will leave tomorrow for Disney World to fulfill a wish granted to her last Thursday in celebration of World Wish Day.

The teen, who has acute myelocytic leukemia, is one of five daughters of Fred and Cheryl Konanui. They range from 9 to 18 years old.

The family had lived on the Big Island and moved to Oahu because of Makanalani's illness, said Lyn Brown, Make-a-Wish Hawaii executive director. Her second wish was “;to go home,”; and her third to go to Disneyland, Brown said.

Make-a-Wish Foundation and Jewelers for Children collaborate to grant wishes to children with life-threatening illnesses.

“;Jewelers for Children and its members have made it possible for us to bring this kind of aloha to wish kids for the past 10 years,”; Brown said. “;Their support has made a significant difference in the lives of the courageous kids we serve.”;

She added, “;We encourage people to join in the celebration and help us reach every eligible wish child in Hawaii.”;

Brown said the Konanui family will spend at week at Disney World, which Makanalani said was her first wish “;because it's fun and I can go places and see fun stuff.”;

“;She is into sports a lot,”; Brown said, noting she likes basketball and motorcycle riding.

Michael Parker, Hawaii Jewelers Association president, expressed “;great appreciation to and pride in all the Hawaii jewelers and their customers who contribute to Jewelers for Children and make this grant possible.”;

The Make-a-Wish Foundation on average grants the wish of a child with a life-threatening medical condition every 25 minutes somewhere in the world. The foundation marked World Wish Day on Thursday with celebrations of wishes being granted throughout the United States and in 35 other countries in which it operates.

The mission of Jewelers for Children is to raise funds for children's charities year-round through special projects supported by organizations in the jewelry business.

Since 1999 it has helped grant more than 900 wishes to children with life-threatening conditions in all 50 states, including six in Hawaii. It also supports Make-a-Wish Foundation International through annual grants.