Last week was an exciting one here at TripIt. We announced our partnership with the Make-A-Wish Foundation, the adoption of Kenna’s wish through Make-A-Wish Greater Bay Area, and our partnership with C.C. Chapman of Never Enough Days.
If you haven’t heard about the adoption of Kenna’s wish, here’s a brief overview: At age 13, Kenna was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis. At a young age, she had to endure an aggressive treatment, which included chemotherapy pills. Although the pills helped fight the colitis, they eventually led to her leukemia diagnosis three years later. At this point, Kenna’s life depended on finding a bone marrow donor. And they did: halfway across the world, in Australia.
Her wish is to go to Australia to meet her bone marrow donor, and she will: in five short days. We’ve been lucky enough to meet Kenna in person and get to know her and her family, and we can’t tell you enough what amazing, inspiring people they are. We interviewed Kenna recently about her illness, her life, and her plans for the future. Here’s what she had to say:
How did you start working with Make-A-Wish?
Kenna: When I first got diagnosed with leukemia I said, ‘do I finally get my Make-A-Wish?’ By then, I had already gone through so much, but ulcerative colitis wasn’t considered a life-threatening disease, so I wasn’t eligible for a wish. At the time, I was also 15 and boy crazy. My first wish was to have Josh Hutcherson as my prom date. Then, I got sick and wasn’t able to do my Make-A-Wish. By the time I was better, I was much older and decided I wanted to go Australia to meet Danny [my bone marrow donor] I was lucky to get to make that switch.
What inspires you to fight?
Kenna: I come from a long line of survivors. We call my dad’s mom a cat because it seems like she has nine lives! When I got sick, we realized that I’d gotten that trait form her.
Also, I’m not scared of dying. I’m scared of being alone and without my family. When I was sick I imagined what it would be like after I passed—pretended like I was a fly on the wall watching my family, and it wasn’t a pretty picture. They were sad and heartbroken. So, instead of giving up, I lived through them and I lived for me. I fought like hell because I don’t want to leave the people I love.
What makes you smile?
Kenna: Most days it’s just waking up that makes me smile. Other days, it’s seeing human kindness at its best. Some days, when I can go outside and feel the wind—I smile. Generally, I’m a very happy person.
After Australia, what’s next?
Kenna: Getting my life back to a new normal. I want to graduate from college. I want to get a good job and I want to change people’s lives.
My goal in life is to be a child life specialist. I want to give back to kids who are going through something close to what I went through. I want to be there to show them that it does get better.
Help Spread the Word
Follow Kenna’s exciting journey on our blog and social channels. You can also follow the hashtag #AussieWish on Twitter and Instagram to stay up to date on her travels: