Twenty-two students, faculty and staff from Kalani High School attended a charity event to raise money for pediatric oncology at Moanalua High School Saturday, Nov. 10. Hope Yuasa, a 2018 graduate of Moanalua, organized the event through Health Occupation Students Association (HOSA) Hawaii to benefit families at Kapiolani Medical Center.
This year, pediatric oncology is the national HOSA service project. To get more people to attend the event, Yuasa asked each local HOSA chapter to invite students and a total of 110 students, faculty, and speakers attended.
Kalani HOSA student Dylan Tran attended Saturday’s event and felt it was a worthy cause.
“It was a helpful and enjoyable event which helps me to understand more about the process and experience of those involved with cancer or other illnesses,” Tran said.
Yuasa, in HOSA for four years, is currently in her first year as a nursing student at the University of Hawaii, Manoa. She wants to become a nurse who works with pediatric oncology patients. She is passionate about this field after her friend was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia in December 2016. She interned at the Kapiolani Medical Center for Women and Children in the pediatrics department this past summer.
“What makes this event so special is that it brings together HOSA members from all over Oahu,” Yuasa said. “It would not have been possible without the help of numerous, selfless individuals who have lent a helping hand during every step in the planning process.”
The event raised a net total of $800 for families at the Kapiolani Medical Center, which will be distributed through gift cards to help families with food expenses at places like the hospital cafeteria and Foodland.
The Kaahaaina family is one of the families that this event is helping. Luke Kahie Kaahaaina was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia at Christmas in 2016. As a result, the family started the Kahie Project to bring together different faith groups to raise awareness for and recruit Bone Marrow Donors.
The film Sing was screened at the event at Moanalua High School. David Kaahaaina, Luke’s father, said that the family watched the film during Luke’s illness and it always gave them a smile and sense of hope.
“We definitely enjoyed ourselves,” David Kaahaaina said. “It was a great event for sharing, for making new friends.”
When Luke was diagnosed, the family set up temporary Bone Marrow registries. They were successful in recruiting people from all over the country but still couldn’t find a match for their son. That’s when they decided to take a risk and use David’s bone marrow, which would be a 50% match. Thankfully, it was successful: Luke was discharged in June and started school again this year.