SIOUX CITY, Iowa: The past year for Sioux City teen Haylee Parsons has been traumatic. Struck in February with a life-threatening illness, the outgoing young lady never let her struggles damper her passion to experience different cultures. And thanks to Kids Wish Network, a Florida-based children’s charity, Haylee recently got to absorb the unique culture of tropical Hawaii.
Last year, like many young adults, Haylee underwent a routine dental procedure to remove her wisdom teeth, but the next day it was clear her recovery wasn’t going as planned. The 17-year-old’s face was extremely swollen; she was having difficulty breathing and began losing consciousness. After an emergency surgery and various lab tests, she was diagnosed with Ludwig Angina, a life-threatening skin infection that occurs on the floor of the mouth. Haylee spent 21 days in the ICU undergoing a total of six operations, countless rounds of antibiotics and a tracheotomy before being released.
After months of struggle, Haylee was able to enjoy her dream wish to Hawaii. Kids Wish Network sent Haylee and her family on an all-expense paid wish to the tropical paradise where she stayed at the beautiful Sheraton Waikiki, dined at amazing restaurants and learned to paddle board. The future anthropologist loved touring the historic Pearl Harbor, but her favorite part was learning to hula dance and swimming with sea turtles.
“There wasn’t anything she didn’t love,” says mom Tiffany. “The wish was better than we could ever have imagined.”
While Haylee’s illness did cause a small hiccup during the wish, she is currently in good health. She has to take medication daily but “everyday she’s not in the hospital is a good day,” assures Tiffany.
Kids Wish Network and Haylee send out big thank-you to the generous sponsors who helped make her wish come true: Sheraton Waikiki, Advantage Rent A Car, Germaines Luau, Three Friends SUP, Hula Hula Entertainment, Discover Hawaii Tours, P.F. Changs China Bistro, Roys Restaurant, Dukes Waikiki, and Hard Rock Café.
Kids Wish Network is a Florida-based charitable organization dedicated to infusing hope, creating happy memories, and improving the quality of life for children having experience life-altering situations. Come experience the Kids Wish Network difference.