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news News Wednesday, September 11, 2019 Wednesday, September 11, 2019 7:14 PM - Saturday, September 11, 9999 7:14 PM

Hilo patient chosen as Honolulu standard bearer for Shriners Hospitals for Children Open

Hekili is an enthusiastic teenager who loves surfing and playing baseball

Hilo patient chosen as Honolulu standard bearer for Shriners Hospitals for Children Open

Hekili, 14, a patient at Shriners Hospitals for Children — Honolulu, will have the experience of a lifetime when he represents the hospital at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open, an official PGA TOUR event in Las Vegas in October. Hekili, from Hilo, Hawaii, was chosen as one of 22 patient ambassadors throughout the country to represent the health care system at the tournament, where he will serve as a standard bearer, carrying the scores of a group of professional golfers as they compete. It is a rare “inside the ropes” opportunity at a PGA TOUR event, as well as the chance to share how Shriners Hospitals has helped transform his life.

Hekili has been a patient of the Honolulu Shriners Hospital since he was 5. Physicians at the hospital provided post-burn care for Hekili’s right foot after his shoelace got caught in the wheels of a trackless train at a birthday party he was attending with family. Four-year-old Hekili was dragged 100 feet, resulting in a severe friction burn to his right foot. After receiving treatment for the friction burn at a local hospital in Honolulu, his parents sought the specialized care of orthopaedic surgeon Robert Nemechek, M.D., and plastic surgeon Clyde Ishii, M.D., at the Honolulu Shriners Hospital.

Due to the severity of his burn, Hekili needed skin grafts and custom orthotics to help him learn to walk and run again. Today, he no longer needs the orthotics. Hekili loves surfing and playing baseball. At age 14, he made the varsity squad on his high school baseball team, and he is currently a member of the Hawaii Surfing Association.

As part of his participation in the tournament, Hekili’s story will be shared with the Golf Channel, which will televise the tournament, reaching over 700 million homes across 240 countries worldwide.

“The purpose of the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open is to not only bring PGA TOUR golf to Las Vegas, but more importantly, to bring awareness to the great work of Shriners Hospitals for Children and the work those hospitals do to help transform the lives of children with orthopaedic conditions, burns, cleft lip and palate and spinal cord injuries,” said Patrick Lindsay, tournament director of the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open. “We thought that bringing more of the hospital’s patients to the tournament and giving them an opportunity to experience some of the best golfers in the world would be a great way to increase the involvement of the hospitals and the patients in this event.”

Visit Hekili's fundraising page. Learn more about the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open.