Big Island Child Gets Wish Granted, Meets Mickey MouseJuly 30, 2018, 4:54 PM HST (Updated July 30, 2018, 4:54 PM)
Make-A-Wish Hawai‘i recently granted eleven-year-old Elijah of Papa‘aloa his wish to meet Mickey Mouse granted. The entire family, including Elijah’s parents and two siblings, were flown to Disneyland, where they enjoyed a special visit with Mickey Mouse himself.
Big Island wish granters Teysha Pagdilao, Kainalu De Costa and Melissa Roberts made close connections with the family and were with them throughout the entire wish journey, including at Elijah’s wish reveal at his school.
An exuberant, happy kid, Elijah is nonverbal and communicates primarily through rhythm and movement. “All the colors and music sparked his love for Mickey Mouse,” said Pagdilao. There was no question that Elijah’s one true wish was to meet his favorite character in person, to take in the sights and sounds of Disneyland and maybe even get to dance with his hero.
Surrounded by his friends at school, Elijah was soon presented with a Mickey Mouse doll, symbolizing his upcoming wish. “He was overwhelmed with many emotions,” said wish mom Chauvin.
When Elijah and his family arrived at Disneyland, they were most excited for their special visit with Mickey Mouse himself. “We felt like all the world went away and we were in our own fantasyland,” said Chauvin. “Mickey was awesome, and he even danced with Elijah, which made his day.”
Dancing with his hero, Elijah’s feelings could not have been clearer—this moment meant the world.
“He definitely felt wonderful,” said Chauvin. “Being nonverbal, I believe Elijah was able to make connections with the characters at Disney that none of us will understand.”
But it wasn’t just dancing with Mickey or experiencing Disneyland that transformed Elijah’s life. It was also the support of his Big Island community—of his school, his friends, and his wish granters, whom Chauvin describes as “patient, kind and supportive.”
“The wish impacted Elijah by giving him the opportunity to be free and not held back by his disability,” she said. “I never saw him so happy. As a family, this wish brought us closer and gave us the strength to overcome anything together. We are forever grateful for this experience.”
To learn more about Make-A-Wish Hawai‘i, click here.