Teen’s dream comes true

She wanted to go where the water was really blue and learn how to snorkel.

On Monday Indiana Children’s Wish Fund helped make that dream come true.

Fifteen-year-old Cassandra Hook’s journey took her to the Cayman Islands on Carnival Cruise ship Inspiration to swim in the crystal blue waters off Seven Mile Beach.

The teen, who attends New Haven High School in Indiana, was diagnosed with the life-threatening disease leukaemia when she was 14.

Speaking with the teen and her family on Seven Mile Beach, Cassandra’s cheeks were rosy from the Cayman sun and she had a look of pure joy on her face.

‘I just wanted to get away from all that was just happening with me. I wanted to swim and snorkel in crystal blue waters. Finally it is happening and I am so excited,’ she said.

‘We put in the request for what Cassandra wanted to do and one of the top spots that were known for its blue waters was Cayman,’ said mom Nancy.

From the time the ship docked in George Town harbour Cassandra said she was just anxious to get going. The family got on a bus and headed off to Seven Mile Beach.

When they got to the beach she jumped right into the water. When she finished swimming and snorkelling she built a sand castle and stretched out on the beach to get some sun for the next few hours until they had to leave for the ship.

Cassandra, who loves biology, said when she gets back home she will rub all the excitement of her trip into the faces of her friends who are in school.

‘I will tell them how the water is so amazing, the people so nice and how I was treated like a princess. ‘I can’t thank Indiana Children’s Wish Fund enough, they have been so generous and giving and it is absolutely amazing what people can do to help other people,’ she said.

After being diagnosed, Cassandra was sent to Riley Children’s Hospital in Indianapolis. After her treatment there she was told when she started feeling better she had a wish grant coming.

She was told her trip she could be as creative as she wanted; she could go places, meet famous people and do something that she liked.

‘It was eight to nine months where Cassandra was very ill, which gave her a lot of time to think about what she wanted to do and where she wanted to go. That was something very positive to take her mind off her illness because she was very ill at the time, so we used the wish a lot so she would get better,’ said her mom. ‘When she started feeling better Cassandra could not decide on what she wanted to do. First it was Disney, then Hawaii until she finally said she wanted to go somewhere the water was really blue and learn how to snorkel and we ended up in Cayman.’

The ship, which departed from Tampa, will take the family to Mexico. There Cassandra said she will purchase a big sombrero to take back home.

Joining Cassandra and mom on the trip was dad Gary and two brothers, Zachary and Tanner.

Indiana Children’s Wish Fund grants the wishes of Indiana children between the ages of three to 18 who have been diagnosed with a life-threatening illness.

Wish requests vary from trips to Disney World for the entire family to family vacations, meeting a celebrity, computers, shopping sprees and more.

They give teens a positive outlook on life and help to grant a wish to renew their excitement of childhood, even if it’s for a brief period of time.