As little Kahalau lies in her hospital bed surrounded by beeping monitors and machines, her mother Rachael sits next to her, her soothing voice calming Kahalau after every cough and every cry. Despite bearing the weight of the world on her shoulders, she remains positive for Kahalau. There is nothing they can’t beat together. And this mentality follows them everywhere they go—from their hospital room at Kapiolani Medical Center on Oahu to their home in Wailuku, Maui.
Wish granter Richelle recalls meeting the family for the very first time: “It was like walking into my own family’s home. They were so welcoming and just such a positive light.”
Just a little over a year ago, Kahalau was a “happy-go-lucky, healthy child,” according to Rachael. She was about to start preschool, and she enjoyed baking, playing, and dancing around the house. But soon, Kahalau started to feel sick. She complained of a tummy ache at first and began having trouble walking and keeping her balance. After a number of tests, the devastating diagnosis came back: Kahalau had stage 3, high risk neuroblastoma, a pediatric cancer of the nerve cells.
And so began an incredibly difficult journey of chemotherapy, surgery, radiation, and immunotherapy. Traveling to Oahu three weeks out of every month, the family spent little time at home. They were also often separated, with Kahalau’s dad Duke staying on Maui to tend to Kahalau’s sister and open the family art gallery.
As Kahalau’s family adjusted to their new normal, they never lost sight of the need to stay strong for their little girl. And Rachael’s positivity cemented their approach to coping with Kahalau’s cancer. “She just has this calmness to her and every time she speaks you can’t help but to feel like everything is going to be okay,” said Richelle.
With her parents’ support, Kahalau has also remained strong as she fights indescribable battles with a strength well beyond her age. Richelle describes her as a “great example of a warrior princess—so brave and fearless, but yet so beautiful and kind.”
For Kahalau, a wish come true would mean the opportunity to be a kid again—to focus on the magic of meeting Mickey and Minnie Mouse and having fun instead of the realities of fighting a critical illness. And it would also allow Kahalau and her family the opportunity to spend quality time together.
“That one wish has been a constant focus, carrying us through really tough days,” said Rachael. “Children like Kahalau deserve the world for what they have to endure. To give an experience to these kids like Kahalau is to truly understand the essence of life.”
Your support helps life-changing wishes like Kahalau’s come true. As Richelle said, “Any bit of hope or light that these families can experience in the times when their worlds are being torn apart is amazing. It gives them not only a moment to feel like nothing is wrong, but a sense that they are surrounded by people who care.”