• Kanoa, Anuhea, and Pukaua wave hello to his supporters.
  • Sometimes all you need are kisses from mom.
  • Auntie Liana recovering after donating a part of her liver to save Kanoa.
  • Little Kanoa is a fighter!
 

 

Auntie’s liver donation saves baby Kanoa

Ali Koide
Tuesday, April 12, 2016
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At just 1 month old, baby Kanoa's skin started to look yellowish.

"At first I thought maybe he just needed to get more sun," his mother, Anuhea, recalls. After a couple of weeks without improvement, she and her boyfriend Pukaua took their son to the local hospital in Honolulu, Hawai'i. "From that day we had tests done every day." 

Kanoa's liver was failing, and the doctors weren't sure why. Then one day, a team of specialists from Lucile Packard Children's Hospital Stanford visited Kanoa's hospital and gave the family hope.

"We knew we had to come here to Packard Children's. We had to be at the #1 hospital for transplants," says Anuhea, who works at a hospital in Hawai'i. 

The family temporarily relocated to Palo Alto as they waited to hear news about a liver donor. Luckily, the family didn't have to look far: Kanoa's auntie Liana was a match. Without hesitation, she offered to donate a part of her liver to save Kanoa's life.

"How do you thank someone who saves your son's life?" Anuhea asks. "I don't know how to thank my sister-in-law."

The night before the surgery, Kanoa gave his auntie Liana a charm bracelet with a bear to represent Kanoa, and an angel to represent her as being his guardian angel. As meaningful as the gift was, Anuhea laughs, "She's saving our son's life, and we're giving her a bracelet."

Both Kanoa and Liana are recovering well, and hope to return home to the islands in a couple of months. Kanoa is already back to laughing, drawing, and watching his favorite Elmo shows. He is eager to heal quickly so he can play outside with his big brother Kan'i again. 

"This is just a wonderful place. The doctors and staff have all been amazing. Every parent we meet has something wrong with their child, sometimes multiple children. But they're in high spirits and they inspire me to stay strong," Anuhea reflects on her experience at our hospital. "Then there are people, complete strangers in the community, who come and drop off gifts. It could even be something simple like crayons or a game for my kids, and it just makes their day. It really makes me want to give back after we get through all of this."

Thanks to supporters like you, our hospital has the #1 transplant program in the country and Kanoa was able to get the care he needed. Please consider making a donation to our Transplant Center today, and help more kids like Kanoa. The family has aslo set-up a GoFundme page. Watch the story featured on ABC7 News above. 

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