HPU basketball team helps grant wish for Kailua boy

Local News

Make-A-Wish® Hawaii had a special announcement for 3-year-old Kailua wish kid Elijah during Saturday’s Hawai’i Pacific University (HPU) Sharks basketball game at Moanalua High School. The young basketball fan was called to the court during halftime at the team’s last home game of the season, where the players helped reveal that his wish to have a staycation at Aulani, a Disney® Resort & Spa, will soon be coming true.

Elijah is battling a congenital heart condition and recently flew to the mainland for surgery. He and his family have been dreaming of enjoying time together at Aulani to celebrate a successful surgery. Make-A-Wish Hawaii worked to make that dream a reality, and Elijah will soon be one of more than 300 local and visiting children who experience the life-changing impact of a wish at Aulani each year.

“Disney and Make-A-Wish have a long history of granting wishes together,” said Kimberly Agas, General Manager at Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa. “We know how important a wish can be to the healing process, and we are honored to be a part of helping to bring joy to families—especially those of our local keiki. We can’t wait to welcome Elijah and his family to Aulani.”

In addition to his love of all things Disney, Elijah is also a huge basketball fan and dreams of playing someday. He and his family have a personal relationship with HPU Sharks Head Men’s Basketball Coach Darren Vorderbruegge and his wife, as the two families attend church together.

Local Hawaii wish granting volunteers worked with Vorderbruegge to plan a special surprise at the team’s last home game on Saturday. After the announcer called Elijah to the court, the players held signs and cheered for him to reveal that his wish is being granted.

“The Sharks Men’s Basketball team was so excited to be part of Elijah’s special day,” said Vorderbruegge. “We know he has a wonderful family and feel blessed to be able to share this experience with them. Thanks so much Make-A-Wish for including us.”

Make-A-Wish Hawaii would like to thank the HPU Sharks and Aulani for their continued support of wish kids like Elijah. On average, more than 200 community members, including corporate partners, donors and volunteers, will come together to make just one wish like this possible.

To learn more about Make-A-Wish Hawaii, visit hawaii.wish.org.

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