BEND, OR -- A Redmond teen is on her way to Hawaii for a six-day family vacation, thanks to Make-A-Wish Oregon. Kacee Ware was first diagnosed with severe Crohn's Disease when she was just 10-years-old, and she's spent the last five years in and out of hospitals in Portland and Seattle. Her mom Rachel says the 15-year-old also struggled with a number of complications from her treatment and other secondary diagnoses.
Kacee was surprised at Tuesday's "Waffles and Wishes" Make-A-Wish Fundraiser in Bend.
Rachel Ware tells KBND News her daughter helped plan the trip with the nonprofit over the past couple of years, but says Kacee had no idea the family of seven was leaving immediately. "It’s just been amazing for us and given her something to be excited about and look forward to. It’s been super hard not to share with her the fun details of our trip, so we were really excited to be able to finally share all that with her."
Rachel says the trip is perfectly timed. Kacee underwent a trial treatment at Seattle Children's Hospital over the past year, and just recently learned she was in clinical remission. "If we would’ve went a year ago, or even six months ago, it would’ve been a different experience because she really wasn’t well enough to enjoy it. Yeah, it would’ve been pretty and she could’ve laid on a towel on the beach, but she really wasn’t physically able to do much."
The Redmond High sophomore tells KBND News she wanted to go to Hawaii so she, her parents and four siblings could spend time together after traveling so much for her treatments. "We are going to go on an all-day fishing trip, and doing a luau, and some scuba diving and just sitting on the beach and having fun. It’s crazy; it’s nothing that I’ve ever imagined being able to do."
In the past year, Make-A-Wish Oregon granted more than 200 wishes for kids battling life-threatening medical conditions. This year, the organization hopes to grant 250 wishes. They say these wishes aren't just "nice to have," but have a real impact on the healing process for each family, their friends and community.