Lydia knew something was wrong, that it wasn’t normal for a teenager to be tired all the time. That’s when a visit to the doctor’s office changed her life. They told her she had a brain tumor. She was then just 15 years old.
That year, Lydia underwent emergency surgery when she started to lose vision in one eye; she endured four cycles of chemotherapy and fifteen cycles of radiation. “It’s been tough just getting my strength back,” said Lydia. “Now I’m just gradually getting back to school and being normal.”
Part of her journey back to normalcy was her wish to go to Hawaii. “I chose to go to Hawaii because getting cancer didn’t just affect me, it affected my whole family. So I wished for a family trip.” A family trip, she says, that didn’t include going to a hospital.
So in December of 2012, when she was 17 years old, Lydia and her family embarked on a magical 6-day journey to Honolulu, Hawaii, where she got to snorkel, swim with dolphins, eat Hawaiian shaved ice and take part in a traditional luau. There were so many surprises along the way – like the flight attendant who knew her name - that it was difficult for her to pinpoint the one most memorable thing.
For Lydia, the most important part of the trip was the chance for her, her parents and her two sisters to bond. “I’m just so grateful,” said Lydia. “Make-A-Wish is so awesome. They made everything so easy and fun.”
What’s next for Lydia? She’s been accepted to Stanford University, where she plans to study science and go into pre-med. She hopes her own experience with cancer – on both a physical and emotional level – will help her become a good doctor and take better care of kids like her.