The transition from elementary school to middle school is tough enough without facing a critical illness. As wish kid Kaila embarked on this new journey into adolescence, she did so while also undergoing chemotherapy for a rhabdomyosarcoma diagnosis, a rare form of cancer that attacks the connective and muscle tissue.
After attending the first few weeks of school, twelve-year-old Kaila soon learned her sixth-grade year would look different from all those before. Kaila often floats between attending school when she is well and completing lessons in the hospital as she endures long treatments and chemotherapy sessions. While Kaila’s friends only worry about homework, tests, or trying to remember their locker combinations, Kaila fights for her life in the company of doctors and nurses.
To pass the time in the hospital, Kaila turns to those things that bring her the most joy—one of which is Anime art. Kaila often tunes into YouTube to watch her favorite artist, Baylee Jae, as she teaches drawing lessons to her audience. Through this guidance, Kaila has become quite the artist, and she loves the feelings of freedom and expression she finds through art. Without Baylee Jae and her instructional videos, Kaila may never have developed this talent or discovered her love for Anime art. Because of this, Kaila adores Baylee Jae and credits her for holding a crucial role in her healing journey.
When sharing her interests and talents with volunteer wish granters, Kaila mentioned her love for Baylee Jae and the hope she found in watching her videos. Kaila’s wish? To meet and draw with her hero, in Baylee Jae’s hometown of Vancouver, Canada! Kaila’s wish granters quickly went to work to reach out to Baylee Jae and plan this wish and even went so far as engaging Baylee Jae to record a video especially for Kaila announcing her wish come true. At a special school assembly in the presence of her peers and family members, Kaila watched in amazement as her hero said her name and shared the good news of a wish come true. As Kaila became overwhelmed with emotion, she was filled with joy at the thought of her dream, and one true wish, finally coming true.
After a few weeks of planning and waiting, the time finally came for Kaila and her family to fly to Vancouver. Kaila’s family was treated like a VIP with a special limo ride and shout out on the airplane; by the time they arrived, Kaila could hardly even sleep she was so excited to meet Baylee Jae the next day!
Following a restless but excited night’s sleep, Kaila, and her family were off to the Vancouver Art Museum. After waiting anxiously in the lobby for a few moments, Baylee Jae rounded the corner and greeted Kaila with a giant hug! Kaila could hardly keep from crying; before her stood her very own real life hero, and it almost seemed too good to be true. Baylee Jae and Kaila both came with gifts for each other, and after a few moments getting to know each other, they were off to their own art studio where they would spend the afternoon laughing and drawing together. After drawing for most of the afternoon, it was time to head to dinner, and after dinner, Kaila and Baylee Jae finished their artwork and traded with each other, to be sure never to forget all the fun they had together. As Kaila and Baylee Jae said goodbye for the evening, it was clear that neither the hope nor the joyful memories from this wish would soon be forgotten.