Young Athens girl with PKD goes on trip of a lifetime
A young girl from Athens is headed back home after the trip of a lifetime right now.
Keira Freeman is spending a week in Hawaii, thanks to a stranger, who nominated her through the Make-a-Wish foundation.
Channel 3 sat down with Keira and her family before they left.
"It's going to be fun," Keira's mom, Kristi Wilson, said. "No stress, no worries."
No stress and no worries for their family spending time on the beach in Hawaii.
They've shared some pictures of their adventure with Channel 3.
It started with the plane ride. Keira was able to meet the pilot, and it continued with family pictures on the beach, excursions to see breathtaking views and a visit to the Honolulu Zoo. Adventures they never thought they would be taking.
"We don't know the exact person that nominated me," Keira said.
The trip is sponsored by the Make-A-Wish Foundation, though the person who nominated Keira for this trip is still a mystery.
It's exciting, but for her mother, it's heartbreaking to think that Keira even qualifies for something like this.
"It just didn't seem like something that would happen. Most Make-A-Wishes are for kids with cancer and stuff. So, I had no clue she would actually qualify," Wilson explained. "We try to keep it normal. Try to act like it's not there."
The reminder of why this trip is happening is there after a long journey struggling with her health. Keira was diagnosed with Polycystic kidney disease (PKD) in 2015.
"She has been sick since she was a baby off and on. We went to doctor, after doctor, after doctor," Wilson said.
She goes to treatment frequently.
"You have to see a lot of doctors, get a lot of needles, be tested," Keira explained.
According to the PKD Foundation, it's a disease where fluid-filled cysts grow in a person's kidneys. It can cause kidney failure. It's usually genetic which is why her family was shocked when Keira was diagnosed.
"I went and had my other kids tested," Wilson said. "I had myself tested."
One reason Keira chose to go to Hawaii was to meet her friend, Emily. The two connected through the PKD Foundation years ago, and they finally got to meet in Hawaii.
Wilson says watching her child's wish come true was amazing, and while they are enjoying this adventure, they want to use Keira's story to raise awareness for the disease they say not enough people know about.
Keira and her family made it back to Tennessee safely late Thursday night.