When Kaitlynn found out she was eligible for a wish, she wasted no time in deciding what was most important to her.
“It has been my dream to swim with dolphins, but I never thought it was going to happen,” she said.
That sort of adventure seemed even more out of reach when she was diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension at the age of 8. Since then, Kaitlynn has faced many challenges, including giving up her beloved competitive sports. As her condition worsened, she underwent more treatments and procedures. "I have had many struggles with it and had more bad days than good," she wrote.
But on her wish trip, all that changed -- for a few days, the good far outweighed the bad. Kaitlynn was immediately struck by the difference in weather. “When we left Cody, it was negative 5 degrees and blowing snow, but when we arrived in Hawaii, it was almost 80 degrees,” she remembered.
But the temperature wasn’t the only warm thing about Hawaii. The family was greeted with leis, and they enjoyed a luau, an ATV tour at Kualoa Ranch and other only-in-Hawaii experiences. “They made us feel really welcome to every activity we did,” Kaitlynn said. “Everybody was super nice and made my trip one I will never forget.”
Her mom, Michelle, said Kaitlynn was overwhelmed with joy and was in awe of everything she experienced during the Hawaii trip.
“We hadn’t seen her smile in quite some time, and it was exciting to see her smile, laugh and really enjoy herself,” Michelle said.
The experience will stay with Kaitlynn for a lifetime.
“It is hard to put into words what it was like to finally swim with dolphins – there were so many emotions,” Kaitlynn said. “It was nice to just forget about the world.”