Ronald McDonald House

Touched by the RMH Family Room

November, 2003

By Gene Davis

When the Aina family of Ewa Beach checked their son Nicholas into Kapiolani Hospital for his first round of chemotherapy, they didn’t know exactly what to expect. As all such families do, they slowly became aware of the routines of hospital life, what family strengthening and patient support tools were available, and how to access them. And it wasn’t long before a hospital staffer let them know about the RMH Family Room.

Nicholas, Randy and Mom Cathy were warmed by the aloha of the Family Room and they made a decision to find a way to help the facility so that it could be there for many more families such as them in the future.

“We began popping in to grab a snack and Nicholas found that he could check his e-mail a couple of times a day,” said Randy. “We saw how valuable the Family Room is.”

To show support of Nicholas and raise money for the RMH Family Room, Randy held a public humiliation session at his Edward Enterprises office, allowing dozens of friends and colleagues the opportunity to hack off a piece of his thick hair-in exchange for a donation that ultimately would be split between the RMH Family Room and Kapiolani Hospital.

Randy and Nicholas Aina
Randy and Nicholas Aina

The results: dad picked up a new “do” and the Family Room received a $1,100 contribution. Nicholas seemed amused, a little bit embarrassed and no doubt encouraged by the show of parental love, and the support of so many others.

“When I was inpatient, the Family Room was a comfort zone for me that took my mind off what was happening,” Said Nicholas. “It is just a welcome place to be.”

Nicholas kept up with his college classes during his entire medical challenge with the help of professors who e-mailed his assignments to him via the Family Room. Today he is a typical sophomore at the University of Hawaii. “I’m at that point where I have to decide what I want to do. Choosing the right major is critical,” said Nicholas. “I’m leaning toward a nursing degree, and a big part of the reason is my experiences while being treated for cancer.”  §

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