Dream comes true for cancer survivor - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Dream comes true for cancer survivor

Rylee Cavins takes her first stroke on the stand-up paddleboard. Rylee Cavins takes her first stroke on the stand-up paddleboard.
Rylee stand-up paddleboarding at Ala Moana Beach. Rylee stand-up paddleboarding at Ala Moana Beach.
Rylee smiles for the camera after her first stand-up paddleboard lesson. Rylee smiles for the camera after her first stand-up paddleboard lesson.
Rylee and Miss Hawaii 2011 Lauren Cheape Rylee and Miss Hawaii 2011 Lauren Cheape

By Mark Carpenter

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Every journey begins with a single step, but in Rylee Cavins' case, her journey begins with a single stroke.

Armed with a custom-made paddle sporting her favorite color pink, Rylee anxiously mounts the board, gets in position, sets her feet and paddles away on the glassy water of Ala Moana Beach.

"Perfect. Easy right?," says one of her instructors.

Tuesday morning's stand-up paddleboard lesson is a cinch for Rylee. It's a change of pace to the stressful life she and her family have endured for the past two-and-a-half years.

In November 2008, 11-year-old Rylee was diagnosed with Ewings Sarcoma, a type of bone cancer, in her left leg.

After two surgeries and countless hours of treatment, doctors were able to salvage Rylee's limb. Her cancer is currently in remission.

Rylee still has to undergo one more surgery in a couple of months, but in the meantime, she has some business to tend to.

"In the hospital they set her up with Make-A-Wish and they come out and have volunteers that come out and kind of decide what she might like to do for her wish, and showed that everything she wanted to do could be done in Hawaii," Rylee's mother Heather Cavins said.

After swimming with dolphins and enjoying a day of snorkeling, the Cavins gathered at Magic Island on Tuesday to cross another wish off Rylee's list: learn how to stand-up paddleboard.

Accompanying the Cavins on their beach day was Miss Hawaii 2011 Lauren Cheape, who arranged the lesson after hearing Rylee's story.

"Nicole Fox, a former Miss Hawaii called me and said 'I know you've just been crowned and I met this family and they have such an amazing story and they would love to meet you.' And so I was able to call the family, I asked them what were your dreams, what did you want to do and stand up paddleboarding was one of those things," said Cheape, who also volunteers with the Children's Miracle Network.

Prior to her cancer, Rylee was an avid soccer player, gymnast and snowboarder. But now, Rylee is not allowed to participate in any contact sports.

Tuesday's paddleboard experience was an opportunity for Rylee to be active again.

"It's really fun," Rylee said, who only started walking regularly again last month.

In addition to the paddleboard lesson, Cavins was also bestowed with the Miss Hawaii crown and sash from Cheape herself.

"She deserves it. She deserves to be Miss Hawaii for the day," Cheape said. "She's a true champion."

Copyright 2011 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.

Powered by Frankly