When Peyton was in high school, she began to experience severe headaches and leg pain. During a hospital visit, the doctor noticed her white blood cell count was through the roof. After multiple tests, Peyton was diagnosed with leukemia. Her battle began with a month-long round of chemotherapy. The next step was a bone-marrow transplant, and her sister was a perfect match.
After the transplant, Peyton relapsed. She had to spend another month and a half enduring inpatient chemotherapy treatments. The next course of action was a second bone-marrow transplant from a donor. It was a difficult process with many complications, and she spent another nine weeks in the hospital. Thankfully, at the end of the last treatment, she was cancer free! Peyton was able to return to high school for her senior year, after having not been able to attend since her sophomore year.
When Peyton was first approached about her wish, she immediately knew she wanted to involve her two sisters. She knew the toll her diagnosis had taken on her entire family and wanted to share an experience together.
Peyton’s family has always loved the beach, so she knew her perfect wish was to travel to Hawaii with them. Despite being weak from her treatments, Peyton took full advantage of all there was to experience. One of their first adventures was traveling in the dark through a 10,000-foot volcano with a friendly tour guide to the top of Haleakala. The views were breathtaking and clear; they were able to see Jupiter, Mercury, Venus and the Moon!
The second adventure of the trip was an unforgettable experience on a snorkeling cruise. The road to Hana was another favorite; they traveled 38 miles of coast lines, seeing beautiful scenery and waterfalls along the way. On the last night, the family was able to experience their first luau. According to everyone, the food was delicious!
Of all her incredible adventures, the surf lessons were Peyton’s favorite. Before her treatments, Peyton ran cross country and played lacrosse, always ready to try a new activity. But surfing was different. Her confidence in her body’s abilities wasn’t what it used to be; she thought her body was too weak. With encouragement from the instructors and her family, Peyton was able to rise and stand on the surfboard. It was a triumphant moment for everyone!
Now that Peyton is home from her trip, her surfing experience has given her the reminder that she is capable of anything. It is a lesson she will take with her as she enters her next phase as a college student.