August 17, 2015 – Local Boy Travels to Hawaii to Play with Dolphins Thanks to Efforts of Small Business Growth Alliance (SBGA) and Make-A-Wish Foundation®
Three years can fly by for some people, and for others, it can drag on endlessly. For Zein, a local seven year old, three years is a marker to the date he was diagnosed with a life-threatening disease – a battle he continues to fight through the fast days and the slow. When Make-A-Wish® came to Zein asking where he would like to spend his most memorable days, however, he chose the one place his heart desired: Hawaii.
“The wonderful thing about Make-A-Wish® is their ability to take a child who has been going through a rough period and let them escape for a moment from being ill to being a kid,” explained Nathan Jurczyk, Vice President of the Small Business Growth Alliance (SBGA), the corporate entity that helped grant Zein’s wish. “The work that the Make-A-Wish Foundation® does to help kids be kids again and build some of the most memorable moments in their lives – that’s something that is truly, in today’s age, magic.”
Zein couldn’t wait to enjoy swimming and surfing in Hawaii, but more than any activity, he wanted to swim with dolphins. From the moment Zein and his family landed on the island to the moment they left, they could not stop smiling. They were able to enjoy Hawaii’s sandy beaches, explore the Polynesian Culture Center, and take a tour of the waters of Waikiki via submarine. Zein’s favorite part of the trip, however, came when he was able to play with the dolphins and watch them perform.
“Zein didn’t just swim with one dolphin, but an entire pod,” shared Sarah Pizzaruso, Vice President of Marketing & Development at Make-A-Wish® Orange County and the Inland Empire. “And he was so excited because at the end of his day, one of the dolphins gave him a kiss.”
“You never forget your first kiss,” SBGA representative and Make-A-Wish® contributor Alicyn added. “And with this program, we’re helping kids build memories like these and more.”
The Make-A-Wish Foundation® provided Zein the opportunity to have a family vacation where he could be a just a kid playing in the ocean. And regardless of whether the days moved fast with all of the activity or lingered in the Hawaiian sun, they provided memories that Zein and his family can hold onto forever.
“The Make-A-Wish Foundation® gives these kids who have gone through a lot in life the ability to live out their most heartfelt desires. We are proud to sponsor such a worthy cause,” said Bob Parisi, Senior Vice President of SBGA. “Every wish we grant fuels our desire to grant another wish, and another after that.”
Zein’s wish marks the 61st wish granted through the partnership between the Make-a-Wish Foundation® and the Small Business Growth Alliance (SBGA).