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news News Sunday, September 27, 2020 Sunday, September 27, 2020 8:15 PM - Sunday, September 27, 2020 8:15 PM

Teen a shining example of bravery and aloha

Akenese's story

Teen a shining example of bravery and aloha

In September 2019, Akenese and her mother traveled from Samoa to Hawai‘i to seek treatment at Shriners Hospitals for Children — Honolulu. An infection in Akenese’s hip was the initial reason for their visit, but during her stay, the 13-year-old underwent three additional surgeries to lengthen her leg, which had been operated on six prior times in their home country.

"Dr. Pellett is good because he helped fix my leg," Akenese said, referring to pediatric orthopeadic surgeon Jonathan Pellett, M.D., who performed Akenese's corrective surgeries at the Honolulu Shriners Hospital.

“Whenever the doctors would ask me, ‘Are you afraid to have another surgery,’ I always answered, ‘No.’ I know that the doctors are going to do (my surgery) good, and when they finish, I’ll be better,” Akenese added.

A shining example of aloha, Akenese's positivity radiates to all she meets at the hospital. "When I go to my appointments, I like to visit the doctors and staff in the outpatient clinic. I always say hi, and when they pass by me they always say hi back," Akenese said. "Shriners Hospitals for Children is good because people always smile. Whenever we come – morning or afternoon – they are always happy."

She and her mother have been able to live together at the Honolulu Shriners Hospital’s on-location Family Center for the past year, at no cost to their ‘ohana. “Shriners Hospitals for Children is good for helping the kids who need to come here to Hawai‘i for surgery. They are doing something for us, and helping the people who stay in the Family Center,” said Mom.

When Akenese returns home, she looks forward to seeing her friends and completing school. One day she hopes to become a doctor so that she can help children.

"I’m happy when I see my daughter happy," her mom said.