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Aloha Kōkua

A gesture of kindness can make all the difference.

August 12, 2010
Trisha Smith · Editorial Assistant

Many, including myself, have learned to use bad experiences as a means to become a stronger and happier individual by creating joy for others, holding onto the notion of hope and helping those in need.

Every day is a struggle for nine-year-old Ailana as she battles “Leigh’s Disease,” a rare, inherited neurometabolic disorder affecting the central nervous system.

At her home on Hawai‘i Island, the brave Ailana continues to fight, even as she’s lost the use of her legs and most bodily functions. She endures seizures and impaired organ functions that make it hard sometimes to eat, sleep, even breathe.

Article Photos

Trisha Smith
Editorial Assistant

Her Maui family is asking for some support to help Ailana in her fight to enjoy her life now—hoping to provide this courageous soul with the childhood she deserves. They are holding a benefit on Friday, Aug. 13, at Casanovas from 9 p.m. to close, with music from CornerHouse, Open Mynd Musik, Homestead and Malino. Call 205-0469 to learn more.

Just before Christmas last year, the life of Duane Tsuburaya was abruptly altered when he was diagnosed with cancer—a Stage III Follicular Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Unfortunately for this 36-year-old, his type of lymphoma is non-curable, yet is manageable with chemotherapy treatments he’s undergoing at the Pacific Cancer Institute of Maui.

Having worked over the last decade on Maui as a cook for the Grand Wailea, Sarento’s On the Beach, the Four Seasons Resort—and most recently Capische?—this Big Island boy has spread his aloha to so many, always making a point to smile and brighten everyone’s day. Local business owner Josh Richardson remembers working with him back at Four Seasons, and said he loved Duane’s infallible optimism and humble nature, referring to him as “Mr. Aloha.”

Take part in “Duane’s Day of Hope” from 2:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 15, at the Hotel Wailea Lawn. Dinner is sponsored by Capsiche? and there will be a silent auction, keiki corner and live entertainment by Arise, Unified Soul, Derick Sebastian and Moku to keep spirits high throughout the day.

Call 879-2224 and visit for more information on ways to donate and to help get “Mr. Aloha” back in action.



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