Jul. 24—Baba Kanae's parents used to transport him to medical appointments in the family's Dodge Caravan to accommodate Kanae, who is bedridden, is fed through a feeding tube and underwent a tracheotomy.
Then Kanae was hospitalized in late April because of COVID-19. When he was released, both of his parents and his uncle had contracted the virus and died—and the Dodge Caravan had been seized for lack of payment. The outstanding amount on the loan was $18, 000, according to Kanae's sister, Jennifer.
But a GoFundMe page created last week by Jennifer generated enough money to get the van back, and now there's $100 left from the campaign to help with medical bills, mortgage payments and house repairs.
"Health-wise, we're doing good, but emotionally and mentally we're just exhausted, " Jennifer said. "We're just broken. How do we deal with this ? How do we move on from this ?"
The support from friends and family along the Leeward Coast, on the neighbor islands and on the mainland has helped ease their grief—along with the generosity of strangers who contributed to the GoFundMe campaign.
"My family, especially my parents, (were ) really loved by our community here in Nanakuli, " she said. "It wasn't just a loss for our family, it was a loss for our whole valley and affected a lot of people. A lot of people took it hard, not just us."
Kanae's father, Jeffrey, played in a small local band called Kamaha 'o at birthday parties, weddings and community events. Kanae's mother, Sybil, worked at Nanaikapono Elementary School as an aide for the Parent Community Networking Centers. Kanae's uncle, Clayton Palakiko, worked for Alu Like, a nonprofit organization that works with Native Hawaiians to achieve socioeconomic self-sufficiency.
Sybil died May 2 at the age of 71, five days after Baba was hospitalized. Palakiko died May 30 at age 65, and Jeffrey died one week later on June 7, at age 58.
"The community will always know my family as a kind, loving family, and one that really makes you feel the true meaning of aloha, " Jennifer said.
Jennifer said that she and her family are grateful for the community support and donations, both through funds from the GoFundMe page and tangible goods like food, toiletries and personal hygiene items that helped the family recover.
"We just want to thank everybody who supported us and donated, and just showed a lot of love to our family, and will continue to support us and show their love and share their love with our family. Thank you, and we appreciate it, " Jennifer said. "We just hope that nobody else has to suffer like we did."