Since granting its first wish in 1980, Make-A-Wish has made wishes come true for more than 415,000 children with life-threatening illnesses. Since many of these wishes involve traveling to locations around the world with family and loved ones, Airbnb is proud to be a partner to help fulfill some of those wishes by providing homes and experiences for families of wish kids.
As part of our partnership with Make-A-Wish, Airbnb has a goal to help grant 365 or more wishes in 2017. As of this week, Airbnb and Make-A-Wish have supported 100 wishes together, helping kids and their families to travel to 30 countries and 60 cities across the world.
To celebrate this achievement and the anniversary of the wish that inspired the founding of Make-A-Wish on April 29th (known as World Wish Day®), we wanted to spotlight four very deserving kids and their families who recently had their wishes granted.
Victoria, age 14, traveled with her family from Montreal, Canada to Seoul, South Korea. Ever since she discovered Korean pop music as a child, Victoria has been fascinated with Korean culture. With her mom and brother, she traveled to Seoul, experiencing the bustling local food scene, and trying tteokbokki (spicy Korean rice cakes) and bibimbap for the first time.
“It was great to have my family with me for all of these experiences,” Victoria explained. “I thought we might get on each other’s nerves, but it was just really exciting to share my love for South Korea with my brother and mom.”
18-year-old Yassir from the Netherlands has always dreamed of traveling to San Francisco. With his mom, stepdad, grandpa, and friend in tow, he fulfilled his dream of attending a basketball game to see all of his favorite players. Watching that game was a highlight of the trip, but the other favorite moment? Riding bikes as one big family up, down, and around the outrageous hills of San Francisco, and eating at old-fashioned restaurants along the way.
“It was amazing because you could see the bay from our Airbnb,” Yassir said. “And the best part was being there with my people. It’s a feeling I can hardly find the words for.”
Growing up on Staten Island, New York, Shanna has dreamed of visiting Croatia and meeting her stepmom’s family who lives there. On their trip together, they toured historical castles like the Arena Coliseum and played with all the floats and toys at their Airbnb’s backyard pool. The entire experience was educational for Shanna and her family — whether at home or touring the countryside with her local relatives.
“My favorite moment of the whole trip was probably just relaxing at the Airbnb house by the pool until late at night with my brothers and sister,” Shanna recalls. “We just talked and laughed a lot. I learned about Croatian money called Kuna and the food that was so different. Not bad, just different. It was cool because we got to be a big family all together.”
Joshua, age 15, had the distinct wish to meet the one and only SpongeBob SquarePants. He had always dreamed of traveling to Orlando, Florida because it’s where all of his favorite shows are filmed, where he could meet all the characters that he grew up watching, and because his friends told him it was “Da Best.” He wanted to bring his whole family — mom and dad, and his younger and older siblings — along for the excitement.
Before the trip, he mused about bringing his sisters. “I think they will be pesky, but fun. We’ve never been able to take a big vacation like this before, so I’m really glad we get to do this.” Together, they went to theme parks, met their favorite characters, and experienced more excitement than any could remember having in their lives.
“It really was da best,” Josh exclaimed.
We’re proud to celebrate these amazing trips with wish kids, their families, and our partners at Make-A-Wish. Here’s to making another 100 wishes (and more!) come true in 2017.