Good News for Make-A-Wish Girl Wanting to See ‘Real Hula’

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Faith Sullivan. Photo: Chelsey Sullivan

Diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia over two-and-a-half-years ago, Faith Sullivan, the 8-year-old girl whose wish was to “see real hula,” returned home to Colorado Springs after the Make-A-Wish Foundation flew her, her parents and her five siblings to Hawai‘i Island last month to experience the 54th Merrie Monarch Festival.

“After a five-day break to unpack and dry our lei, we were back to the routine of homeschool lessons and treatments,” said Faith’s mom,  Chelsey Sullivan. “The life of a child with cancer is pills, pills and more pills several times a day.”

During a phone interview with Chelsey, she said, “We received the news on Monday that Faith is cancer-free! No more treatments or pills for Faith.”

Faith received her treatments and care at Children’s Hospital Colorado – Center for Cancer & Blood Disorders.

Faith Sullivan rings the Warrior Bell after receiving the “all clear” report after her final treatment at Children’s Hospital Colorado. Photo: Chelsey Sullivan.


On the wall in the center is a bell and plaque that reads:

Warrior Bell

Ring this bell
For to tell
Of heroic deeds worthwhile

Your treatment is done
The battle has been won
Now it’s time to smile


Faith rang that bell on Monday as her mom captured the moment on video and her five siblings watched.

“Although there were many tears being shed, Faith and I could not help but smile,” said Chelsey. “We wanted to share the news with everyone who shared that day with us in Hilo. The love we felt there was incredible. I am not sure if you folks know this but, you can’t find true love and compassion for strangers like that—what was shown to us—just anywhere. When we got home, I kept hearing the other children describe our trip as ‘magical’ and my husband and I agree. There is no other word we can find to describe what that trip was or did for our family. Mahalo to everyone who was there.”

Faith Sullivan and her five siblings patiently await the results of her final treatment. Photo: Chelsey Sullivan.

In addition to attending and participating in the day-long Merrie Monarch ho‘olaulea, the Sullivan ‘ohana took a private hula lesson, attended a lū‘au show at a resort and visited Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park.


After the lū‘au, Chelsey recalls Faith commenting about the difference she noticed in the type of hula performed at the ho’olaulea versus the lū‘au show.

Faith, although a little shy on the phone, expressed how wonderful it felt to have experienced “real hula.” She said she also knows what real aloha feels like now.

Faith sporting her  Merrie Monarch T-shirt while awaiting  test results. Photo: Chelsey Sullivan.

When asked if she would like to return to Hawai‘i, Faith responded, “I want to live there one day!”

Penny Vredenberg, a former long-time emcee of the annual Merrie Monarch Festival Ho‘olaulea opening event, said, “A little girl’s wish to see ‘real hula’ not only brought a family to Hawai‘i; it taught everyone that day at the ho‘olaulea that wishes do come true, and together, if we believe in the power of prayer, we all can make a difference—if we have a little faith!”


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