Kind and selfless, 11-year-old Kenadi always has a big, friendly smile on her face. She enjoys playing basketball and volleyball in her spare time and hunting with her family! Kenadi’s mom, Darci, claimed, “She is a girl that is definitely determined and works hard at everything she does.”
Kenadi’s determination and upbeat attitude proved valuable when she encountered an unexpected illness at just 6-years old. In 2014, Kenadi began experiencing severe pain and exhaustion that left her unable to get out of bed. After visiting multiple doctors, Kenadi underwent testing with Dr. Stephen Nanton at Avera Children’s Specialty Group and was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis. This diagnosis meant that Kenadi had to take pills three times a day and have annual colonoscopies to ensure her condition did not worsen.
Kenadi’s condition was stable until September 2018 when she went in for her annual colonoscopy. The family discovered that her ulcerative colitis had severely worsened, causing Kenadi to need infusions of a special medication every 6-8 weeks. Her condition has greatly improved since, but countless doctor visits caused Kenadi to miss school frequently and miss out on a bit of her childhood.
Wish mom Darci reflected, “She has gone through so much in the past 5 years that you couldn’t even imagine…” So, when Kenadi qualified to receive a wish early in 2019, the family was ecstatic! Kenadi would finally get a break from constant doctor visits and the stress of her condition. She knew immediately that she wanted to go to a beach and swim with dolphins!
Wish mom Darci stated, “Hawaii was a place she talked about often and always thought it would be somewhere spectacular to go (and boy was she right)!” On December 27, 2019, Kenadi and her family jetted off to Hawaii. Kenadi experienced a Hawaiian greeting as soon as she landed, receiving a lei constructed of fresh flowers. She saw wreckage on the ocean floor and various tropical fish on a submarine tour. Kenadi had a blast at the traditional luau that featured Polynesian song and dance and a feast full of Hawaiian delicacies. She even learned how to boogie board in the ocean when the family had downtime.
Still, wish kid Kenadi says her favorite part of the trip was swimming with dolphins! She chats about her trip frequently and insists on returning to Hawaii soon. Wish mom Darci explained, “Kenadi continues to talk about the warm weather and wanting to go back as soon as possible, because who wouldn't want to be in Hawaii in the middle of a South Dakota winter?!”
Kenadi’s wish was deeply meaningful for both her and her family. “This wish was everything to Kenadi. A time for her to relax and be stress free, and not have to worry about doctor appointments and infusions,” Darci explained. “This was a trip that our family really needed. Make-A-Wish took all the stress out of everything for our family from the day we left our house to the day we returned. They had everything taken care of and planned out. Our family is beyond thankful that Kenadi was granted her wish!”
Make-A-Wish South Dakota is hosting their annual Wishes in Flight campaign where Delta and United airline miles are collected to make more wishes come true! Wish mom Darci recognized the importance of this campaign, stating “Donated airline miles are a huge asset to helping Make-A-Wish so they are able to send kids, like Kenadi, on a wish trip!”
Donate your Delta or United airline miles now at southdakota.wish.org/travel or by calling 800-640-9198!