Make-A-Wish surprises woman who needed kidney with trip to Hawaii

Published: Dec. 19, 2022 at 4:45 PM CST
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KCTV) - The Make-A-Wish Foundation of Missouri and Kansas surprised Maleena Johnson with a reveal party at Floraloom Studio.

“The flowers, the people, the presents, and the cameras,” said Johnson. “I really didn’t know what to expect, but it was awesome.”

The 19-year-old became a recipient after needing to receive a kidney transplant. Her wish was slated to be granted two years ago, which was before the pandemic forced her to press pause on her plans.

Now cleared, she’s gearing up to go to Hawaii.

“I just always have the best memories with my family,” Johnson said. “I love visiting places with them so much. It’s kind of a thank you for all the support and all they’ve done for me on my journey with my transplant. I wanted to take them with me to Hawaii so that we can make more memories and have more time together.”

Leaders from Service Experts Heating and Cooling partnered with the foundation to make the wish come true. The company has raised more than $1 million for Make-A-Wish since 2018.

“I think the message is, if you are somebody who has an illness of some type, that you’re not alone,” said Service Experts General Manager Harry Griffitts. “There are people out there who are thinking about them.”

In the spirit of her trip, guests celebrated by creating custom Hawaiian leis.

“It’s so neat to make these kids who go through so much feel so special,” said Maleena’s mother Tamra Johnson. “It’s such a blessing. We’re so grateful this is an opportunity for us. We know Maleena is resilient and has come a long way, but we still remember the pain that she went through.”

Maleena is scheduled to make that trip to Hawaii with her family next year in May.