Make-A-Wish grants Washougal boy a trip to see the volcanoes of Hawaii

Little boy, big wish

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Washougal resident Coleman Merle, 5, sits with his dad, Tim, during a Make-A-Wish Oregon party held at Beaches Restaurant in Vancouver on Friday. It featured beach-themed gifts and a volcano cake donated by Two Little E's Cakes and Goodies of Portland.

A dream to see the Big Island of Hawaii, and its majestic volcanoes overflowing with bright red lava, will come true for a little boy from Washougal.

Five-year-old Coleman Merle was granted his dream-come-true trip through Make-A-Wish Oregon. Coleman suffers from a Wilms tumor, which is a type of cancer that starts in the kidneys, and is the most common type of kidney cancer in children, according to the American Cancer Society.

On Friday, Coleman received a fun-filled send-off after arriving at Beaches Restaurant in Vancouver in a shiny black limousine. He was greeted at the event by friends, family members and Make-A-Wish Foundation volunteers and then whisked into the party inside where he received an itinerary detailing the upcoming trip he will take with his family, beach-themed gifts for the trip, and a custom-made volcano cake.

“Coleman loves volcanoes and lava, and looks forward to seeing both on his trip to Hawaii,” said Carynne Drake of Make-A-Wish Oregon.

The local event was part of World Wish Day, celebrated throughout the month of April around the globe to recognize the anniversary of Make-A-Wish, Founded in 1980 when a little boy was granted his wish to be a police officer for a day, today Make-A-Wish grants the wish of a child with a life-threatening condition every 23 minutes. The Oregon chapter, which serves children living in Oregon and Clark County, has granted 2,500 wishes since its inception in 1983.

“We are granting the wish of Coleman to celebrate World Wish Day and highlight the hope, strength and joy that Make-A-Wish brings children every day,” said Laila Umpleby, Make-A-Wish Oregon CEO. “We encourage people to join in the celebration and help us reach every eligible wish child in Oregon and Southwest Washington.”

For more information about making a donation to the organization, which is funded entirely by private contributions, visit