Make-A-Wish helps toddler battling leukemia find her dream unicorn


Little Eva dreamed of coming to Hawaii, a magical land that’s home to a unicorn.

That’s what she thinks of the islands, due to an uplifting children’s book.

The Arizona toddler received a special trip here to make her dream come true, thanks to Make-A-Wish Foundation.

It’s been a tough year for the three-year-old, who is battling leukemia.

“She’s just gone through a lot of treatment. It’s been painful at times and she hasn’t been able to socialize with other kids very much,” said Eva’s mother, Shannon.

When Eva started losing her hair, her nanny wrote “The Legend of the Hair Fairies,” a book where magical fairies trade hair for hope for kids battling cancer.

With the help of the community, Make-A-Wish Hawaii brought the book to life.

“The book came out of a mom saying, ‘How am I supposed to do this?’ I said, well, I’ll take care of that part. I can do that part,” said Eva’s nanny, Carole Folkert.

“The book really set the foundation for the tone today and the script that we wrote with the fairies who are here today. They’re volunteers from our community,” said Jenna Wawrzyniec of Make-A-Wish Hawaii. “It’s in line with our mission: hope, strength, joy to get you through the tough time you’re dealing with.”

Coconut Grove at the Royal Hawaiian was transformed into a magical land. Fairies guided Eva through a quest to find Hazel the unicorn.

Along the way, Eva encountered magical butterflies and flowers, and at each stop, her eyes grew big, her smile even bigger.

But when Eva found Hazel, “we were just trying to keep her from sprinting towards it,” Shannon said.

“Anytime you’ve got a family going through a crisis and you can give them an opportunity to not think about that, and celebrate the special-ness of their family, I think that’s what Make-A-Wish does so well,” said Kelly Sanders, Starwood Waikiki area managing director.

The family says little Eva is doing well. Her cancer is in remission with one year of treatment left.

“She’s been elated, so excited, having so much fun. This has been the best day ever for her,” Shannon said.

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