“It was pretty awesome,” said Vanessa Nichols. “We had a lot of community support. Aiden is 12 years old now and has had kidney disease since he was born. He had many operations, which, combined with the disease, eventually led to complete kidney failure.

“His dad was the first to donate a kidney in 2016. We lost that kidney within 10 days of the transplant. His aunt Tina was the donor for a second transplant back in September, 2017, which was a success.

“Throughout this entire process, people would tell me to call the Make a Wish Foundation. I would tell them, ‘no, Aiden isn’t dying.’ But, I found out, the Make a Wish Foundation isn’t just for terminally ill kids, it is for chronically ill children. I filled out the form and Aiden told them he wanted to go to Hawaii. We were supposed to go two years ago but Aiden was in the hospital and we had to postpone the trip. 

“We were able to go in January and it was a beautiful and stunning vacation we will never forget. Seeing Aiden hiking up and down hills and beating us places was great. We did a helicopter tour of the Big Island. We got to see volcanoes, lava, valleys, and waterfalls. We had time away as a family where Aiden wasn’t sick and had to go back to the room to rest. It was wonderful to see. How very blessed we felt. 

"Aiden has done amazingly well since the transplant. He is a totally different kid. People would tell us that he would be different but we couldn’t imagine it - the sick Aiden was all we knew. He has grown so much since September. He plays sports now, which is something he couldn’t do before since he did not have the stamina for it.

“We are very grateful to the community for their support and to the Make a Wish Foundation. It is a wonderful foundation and this is a wonderful community.

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