Fifteen-year-old Hayley’s wish to go to Tahiti and Moorea gave Hayley and her family a much needed respite from her battle with brain cancer.
While Hayley was battling brain cancer, she constantly had pictures of tropical places on her hospital room walls—she dreamed of being someplace “beautiful, relaxing, and perfect.” When Haley found out she was going to Tahiti, she knew many exciting experiences were awaiting her. However, she had not anticipated the breathtaking beauty of the islands, and the pictures on her walls were nothing compared to the real life islands.
Hayley and her family began their trip in Tahiti, where they swam and snorkeled in the ocean’s crystalline depths. Hayley enjoyed waking up in paradise and having quiet mornings to read in the warm sun, near the crisp, beautiful ocean. On Christmas morning, a rainbow appeared and Santa glided on to the shore in a canoe. Hayley spent the holiday as every girl should – happy, carefree, and filled with gratitude.
They then traveled to Moorea, where Hayley and her family stayed in a bungalow over water populated with colorful fish and sea turtles. The volunteers planning their trip had scheduled many adventures from luaus with native dancers to jet skiing among sharks and stingrays. Even rain could not dampen Hayley’s spirits. When a downpour soaked the group venturing up a mountain road on her jungle tour, she described the experience as a “roller coaster and water slide in one!”
The trip is over, but the excitement and fun of Hayley’s wish will continue to have a lasting impact. In new times of difficulty, Hayley and her family will be able to draw strength and optimism from looking back on this week of joy they shared while in Tahiti and Moorea.