Maui News

Make-A-Wish Hawaiʻi celebrates 40 years of granting wishes

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Five-year-old wish kid Sarah from Kapolei is a spunky, free-spirited child who has loved horses since her first ride at just 2 years old. Make-A-Wish Hawaiʻi granted her wish to be a horse trainer and Sarah and her ‘ohana learned about feeding and riding horses.

Make-A-Wish Hawaiʻi is celebrating 40 years of granting life-changing wishes for local children with critical illnesses. To celebrate this significant milestone, MAWH is hosting free anniversary events every Saturday in August starting on Kauaʻi then Maui, Hawaiʻi Island and Oʻahu. 

All MAWH anniversary events will take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and feature live entertainment, keiki activities, prize giveaways and fun for the whole family. The event schedule is as follows:

  • Kauaʻi – Kukui Grove Center – Saturday, Aug. 6
  • Maui – Queen Kaʻahumanu Center – Saturday, Aug. 13
  • Hawaiʻi Island – Queens’ Marketplace in Waikoloa– Saturday, Aug. 20
  • Oʻahu – Honolulu Zoo – Saturday, Aug. 27 (MAWH entertainment and activities are free, admission to the Zoo is $4 for children ages 3 to 12 and $8 for adults)

For island-specific event details, visit

Trini Kaopuiki Clark, president and CEO, Make-A-Wish Hawaiʻi

“Over the past 40 years, Make-A-Wish Hawaiʻi has seen the power that granting wishes has to transform lives, engage communities in life-changing moments and give children and their families the hope and strength to fight harder against their critical illness,” said Trini Kaopuiki Clark, MAWH president and CEO. “The majority of wish kids go on to live healthy lives and reflect on their wish as a turning point in their recovery journey. With the support of our community, donors, volunteers and our dedicated staff, we look forward to granting wishes for another 40 years.” 

MAWH was organized and founded on Sept. 15, 1982 by Jack Stanford, a local businessman with a passion for serving the community. MAWH granted its very first wish in 1983 to Albert Ackerman, a 10-year-old boy from Hilo diagnosed with leukemia, who dreamed of visiting Disneyland with his family. 

Jack Stanford, founder of Make-A-Wish Hawaii, with Albert Ackerman, first wish kid, as his wish to visit Disneyland comes true.

In a 1985 Honolulu Advertiser story about MAWH, Stanford said, “Our job is to replace those memories of hospitals and needles with a short time of Mickey Mouse, cotton candy and airplane rides.” In the early days of MAWH, Stanford covered administrative expenses through his personal business, and received donations raised by the community as well as services provided by local businesses.


Since granting its first wish, MAWH has grown into one of the busiest chapters in the nation, granting over 1,500 local wishes and hosting more than 17,000 wishes from mainland chapters.

All funds raised for MAWH stay in Hawaiʻi to bring local children with critical illnesses one step closer to brighter days. While wishes are a magical experience for children and their families, they require collaboration, time, and resources to grant. During the MAWH 40th anniversary, the organization is striving to reach its goal of granting 40 more wishes to local keiki from now until the end of the year.

To learn more about Make-A-Wish Hawaiʻi, visit

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