Ronald McDonald House

Even In Her Passing, She Would Help Others

By Gene Davis

Florida resident Bridget Pier first visited Hawaii last year when she served as maid of honor for her mother Meighan’s Makapuu beach wedding to fiancé Steven Alexander. Something about the islands touched Bridget deeply, and the cheerful seven-year-old was thrilled when her family returned to Hawaii again this year to celebrate Meighan and Steven’s first anniversary. “Bridget loved the ocean and all the creatures in it,” shared mom Meighan. “She embraced the Hawaiian Islands and the people.” Bridget even surprised her family during this year’s trip by declaring that she would live in Hawaii someday. The love she had for life and her passion for helping others reflected her Aloha Spirit, and she felt at home here.

Meighan Alexander
Meighan dressed up!
But on June 29, after returning to their hotel from a joyous day of surfing the North Shore with her mom, step-dad, and 10-year-old brother Brent, Bridget suffered a massive stroke. Doctors at Kapiolani Hospital tried valiantly to save her but the damage was too great, and she passed away on July 3. An undetected heart infection may have sent tissue to her brain, where it blocked the blood flow.

During her hospitalization and the days immediately after Bridget’s passing, Steven, Meighan, Brent, and Bridget’s Auntie Reni stayed at the Judd Hillside Ronald McDonald House.

“The House was wonderful,” Meighan said in a Miami newspaper interview. “There are some families that are facing weeks of care for their children, and the cost of lodging in a hotel could very well bankrupt them. To have this lodging available is a godsend and people should do all they can to support it.”

Meighan Alexander
Hawaii was her paradise
When it was clear that they were going to lose their little girl, the family gathered its courage and made a remarkable decision. Because of her resolute desire to be in Hawaii, and her strong belief in helping others, it was decided that they would honor her life and dreams by donating her organs to those in Hawaii who needed them, thus creating a living legacy that Bridget would have been proud of.

“We are touched and overwhelmed with the support and love we’ve received,” Meighan said. “People have asked us what they can do for us. My answer is: consider becoming an organ donor. You can save a life. It’s an awesome gift.”

The family has also encouraged friends to make charitable donations to RMHC-HI and Kapiolani Hospital in honor of Bridget. “We were fortunate to be housed at the Ronald McDonald House,” she said. “It was such a peaceful and loving environment.”

So, even though Bridget wouldn’t be able to spend her life here as she had dreamed, she was able to help others live who may not have made it, if it weren’t for her. As a final statement of her love for the islands, her family took Bridget’s ashes by Hawaiian canoe out into the ocean that she cared so much about, and scattered them. §

More about Bridget Allison Pier

May 13, 2004 – July 3, 2011

The energetic, blue-eyed seven-year-old was eager to move into second grade this fall because she had big plans for a fundraiser to help a local children’s hospital. She was planning on having a lemonade stand, selling cookies and taking on extra household chores to raise cash. “It was just her nature to want to give and help,” Mom Meighan Alexander said.

“I’d like people to know what a very happy life Bridget lived,” Meighan added. “She was always smiling and laughing. I also think people should take her example and be friendly and nice to others. Bridget could not stand for anyone to be mean.”

In a letter to friends, the family described Bridget this way: “A truly independent soul, she was a girly-girl, preferring fancy party shoes (although she liked her mommy’s spiked heels the most) and formal dresses, to sneakers and shorts. Her concept of style was colorful and courageous.” “Bridget’s sense of humor and intelligence were two of her greatest traits and she will be missed desperately by those lucky enough to have known her.”

More RMHC–HI Stories: