A wish come true: Cancer survivor creates video to help other children

Deep in concentration, Redmond’s Alexis Hwa carefully copies the practice letter she had written at home to Santa, asking for a bunny for Christmas. Placed on her small shoulders was the task of kicking off Macy’s eighth annual Believe campaign benefitting Make-A-Wish this year with her letter to Santa Claus, and she wanted to make sure every word was spelled correctly.

Redmond’s Alexis Hwa

Deep in concentration, Redmond’s Alexis Hwa carefully copies the practice letter she had written at home to Santa, asking for a bunny for Christmas. Placed on her small shoulders was the task of kicking off Macy’s eighth annual Believe campaign benefitting Make-A-Wish this year with her letter to Santa Claus, and she wanted to make sure every word was spelled correctly.

Though she will be enjoying a worry-free Christmas at home this year, not too long ago, Alexis, 6, was in a hospital battling pediatric cancer. Now, Alexis wants to help kids with cancer.

She is doing so through her own Make-A-Wish project, a three-minute long animated cartoon that helps explain cancer to young children. In her video, Princess Alexis is kidnapped from her home near the Marrow Woods by a dragon named Chemia. After her fairy godmother tells her she must fight the dragon, she travels to collect a magic wand that will help her fight the dragon, but strip her of her strength and hair.

But, with the help of her family and friends, she defeats the dragon.

The decision how Alexis  — who attends school in Bellevue — would use her wish slowly unfolded over her years of treatment.

Myriad ideas were bounced around when Alexis was first approached by Make-A-Wish — having Alexis appear on what was one of her favorite shows, “Yo Gabba Gabba”, for a segment on pediatric cancer was an early contender.

There was only one hard and fast rule: no other princesses.

“One of the first emails I think I got from Angela was that Alexis didn’t want to meet a princess, because she thinks she is a princess,” said Make-A-Wish’s Monica Shin, who helped Alexis with her wish over the last three years.

In the end, Alexis decided to meld two dreams into one: to become a princess and help other kids with cancer.

Alexis was first diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia when she was 3 years old, and didn’t really understand a lot of what was happening, according to her mother, Angela Hwa. While the hospital answered a lot of her questions, what really helped Alexis understand was a Charlie Brown video clip about cancer.

“She really connected with that video. Alexis watched it continuously the first day we showed it to her. She’s always loved cartoons,” said Angela.

Production company World Famous worked with Alexis to create her video. They brainstormed plot ideas with her, printed paper dolls with outfit options for her character and 3-D printed several magic wands for her to choose from.

“We heard about Alexis and her whole story, and I knew right away that we should do it. The whole company got excited about it… I have a daughter, too, just being able to do anything to make her world a little bit brighter was attractive, and the whole process of being around her energy and the way it brought our team together has been really positive and special,” said Alan Nay, one of World Famous’ directors.

Her cartoon premiered on Oct. 24 at the Cinerama theater in Seattle, and Alexis picked out a dress to wear at her premiere at the Macy’s in Bellevue. As Alexis walked the red carpet into the premiere, people stopped to introduce themselves to her, take photos and ask questions.

Alexis felt like a princess, she said.

For each letter received until Dec. 25, Macy’s will donate $1 to Make-A-Wish, up to $1 million, to help grant the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions. Since 2008, they have donated more than $10.8 million to Make-A-Wish.

Alexis’ video can be viewed here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hsFC697omCM

 

More in News

Malena Gaces, left, and other members of Washington CAN protest unfair move-out charges and alleged discriminatory behavior outside Kitts Corner Apartments in Federal Way in 2018. Sound Publishing file photo
King County could increase tenant protections

The council is considering ordinances designed to help renters.

Art planned for Overlake Village to celebrate tech, LGBTQ+ community

A Gateway art and bike/pedestrian art tunnel are planned.

The 2015 Wolverine Fire in the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest near Lake Chelan. Photo courtesy of the Washington Department of Natural Resources.
The smoky summer that wasn’t

While Washington had a mild season, wildfires burned near the Arctic.

Congresswoman Suzan DelBene, Mayor John Marchione, APA Washington Incoming President Nancy Eklund, and Senator Patty Murray’s Chief of Staff, Mindi Linquist at the Cleveland Street’s National Recognition on Oct. 10. Stephanie Quiroz/staff photo
Cleveland Street recognized as a ‘Great Street in America’

The Cleveland Street project was part of a 20-year vision for downtown Redmond in efforts to turn the neighborhood into an urban center.

Dane Scarimbolo and Dominique Torgerson run Four Horsemen Brewery in Kent. They were almost shut down in late 2017 by King County, which after years of letting them operate a brewery and taproom, decided they were in violation of county code. Aaron Kunkler/staff photo
Proposed winery ordinance irks King County farmers, neighbors and businesses

Concerns include more traffic, higher land prices, code enforcement and compliance.

The indoor batting cages will be located at Redmond Ridge Park at 22915 NE Alder Crest Drive. The facility will include 3 lanes for the batting cages. Photo courtesy of King County
King County agrees for construction of indoor batting cage facility at Redmond Ridge Park

The ordinance authorizes for a five-year use agreement between King County and Redmond North Little League.

Steve Fields and Angela Birney answer questions at the candidate forum hosted by Education Hill Neighborhood Association (EdHNA) at First Baptist Church on Oct. 3. Stephanie Quiroz/staff photo
Birney and Fields discuss transportation, growth and more in Redmond

The forum was held at First Baptist Church last Friday.

Redmond man’s guns seized after police alerted to concerning posts

He has a history of allegedly making online threats toward women.

Most Read