Kaneohe Girl Granted Wish to Visit San Diego Zoo Through Make-A-Wish Hawaii and UnitedHealthcare

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REPORT FROM MAKE A WISH – Eight-year-old Aurora of Kaneohe lives with leukemia. When presented with an opportunity to make a wish, she chose to be a junior zookeeper at the San Diego Zoo. Aurora’s wish came true in January, courtesy of UnitedHealthcare and Make-A-Wish® Hawaii.

UnitedHealthcare sponsored Aurora’s wish through its national alliance with Make-A-Wish to support the organization and its mission of granting the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions.


Aurora wished to be a junior zookeeper because of her love of animals, specifically cheetahs, other big cats and penguins. She traveled to California with her parents and her brother. According to her mom, “Aurora (and the rest of the family) had an awesome time on the wish trip! All of it was wonderful, but by far, Lori, the guide at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, was the best of the best!”

UnitedHealthcare is hosting a Welcome Home party for Aurora at the Honolulu Zoo on Friday, March 8, so she can share photos from her trip. Aurora will be adopting a cheetah and get to experience the keiki zoo where she will have the opportunity to pet selected animals. The media are welcome from noon to 1 p.m.; lunch for the family will follow after the zoo activities.

As part of a renewed three-year, $3 million alliance with UnitedHealth Group, each of Make-A-Wish’s 62 chapters is eligible to receive wish-granting funds. UnitedHealth Group has funded more than 1,250 wishes beginning with its initial three-year, $4.5 million alliance in 2007. Additionally, donations from UnitedHealth Group employees and dollar-for-dollar company matching funds have generated more than $2.8 million in donations through the company’s annual United Giving Campaign.

“We are very happy to play a role in making Aurora’s wish come true,” said Bill Guptail, Hawaii’s UnitedHealthcare Community Plan president. “As a health and well-being company, we work every day to make a difference in our communities, and we are grateful to be a part of today’s Welcome Home party. We know that experiences like these can have a tremendous positive impact on wish kids and their families, and we hope that this celebration helps extend the feeling of carefree happiness that Aurora experienced in San Diego.”

“We are so grateful for our valued partnership with UnitedHealthcare to help make Aurora’s wish come true,” said Siana Hunt, president and CEO of Make-A-Wish Hawaii. “Together, we can make a lasting difference in the lives of over 70 keiki and their families each year right here in Hawaii.”

Make-A-Wish grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy. Founded in 1980 when a group of caring volunteers helped a young boy fulfill his dream of becoming a police officer, Make-A-Wish is now the largest wish-granting charity in the world. With the help of generous donors and more than 30,000 volunteers worldwide, Make-A-Wish has granted more than 280,000 wishes around the world since its inception. For more information about Make-A-Wish Hawaii, visit hawaii.wish.org and discover how you can share the power of a wish®.