But the message behind the video is much more meaningful than most. LaKayla wrote the lyrics herself, and they speak of her experience with cancer. She hopes that her song will inspire others with life-threatening illness and pay tribute to the wish experience.
The imagery in LaKayla’s music video is powerful. From slaying a mighty dragon to celebrating triumphantly with her family, the message is clear: LaKayla will continue to fend off brain cancer with her optimism and her strong spirit.
Like LaKayla, Jin wanted to create a song about living with a heart condition, making rap his genre of choice. His wish granter, James, worked closely with Jin to make that wish come to life. He enlisted the support of local recording artists, a music instructor, a fashion designer, a photographer and two slam poets to get Jin ready to record his single.
Once he had the right training, the next step was going to Hollywood to put the song together with audio engineer Gabe Burch at Village Studios. Jin’s song, “Gonna Shine,” took three days to make. On the first day, he composed the music. On the second, he created the lyrics. And on the third, he put the final touches on it so it would be ready to share with the world.
Back home, he got to air the finished song on the radio and do an interview about the experience. While he is normally shy, he came into his own during this experience. “Through the process of seeing Jin’s wish to completion, I was able to witness an incredible change in his confidence,” wish granter James said. Fumiko, Jin’s mom, agrees. “We’ve seen such a change in him since the wish started. He’s happier and more optimistic than before.”
Six-year-old Maya wanted to take her wish one step further than LaKayla and Jin. Rather than write an original song, she wanted the experience of a singer, including performing live on stage. According to her parents, singing is where Maya gets her joy, doing it “without thinking.”
For her debut, Maya chose Christina Perri’s song “A Thousand Years.” Melanie, her vocal coach, guided her through practice, and then she and her band, Maya and the Breathing Treatments, recorded it in a studio. On guitar was none other than Tim, Maya’s dad!
Not once did fear deter Maya from her wish. The day of the performance, Maya had a full house of over 200 people. Even with such a large crowd, she exclaimed, “Let’s get this show on the road!” When the performance was over, Maya signed autographs for everyone. Her parents say the whole experience was crucial for Maya during the tough times. “Her wish has really given all of us something to look forward to after such a long, hard year,” they said. “It is our light at the end of the tunnel.”