April 22 – Hawaii Executives Arrive in Sendai, With Aloha

With Aloha funding is now helping to save lives.

The hospital presented this certificate of appreciation to the people of Hawaii.

Yasue was met at the hospital today by executives from aio, HONOLULU Magazine’s owner. The CEO and Chairman of aio, Duane Kurisu, along with the Ken Niimura of Obun Printing Company, traveled from Hawaii to meet with hospital officials. On April 9, aio organized the With Aloha Fundraiser for Sendai’s Tohoku University Hospital and with the help of numerous people and companies in Hawaii, raised more than $150,000. They were joined in the meetings by Japanese opera star and Tohoku resident Cano Caoli, who flew from Japan to perform at the April 9 fundraiser.

From Left, Cano Caoli, Ken Niimura, a Tohoku University Hospital official and Duane Kurisu tour the hospital’s heliport.

Duane and Ken were humbled by the hospital’s gratitude. The With Aloha funds are the first to reach the hospital. The Japanese government has not yet given them emergency funding nor have any relief agencies.

They were also humbled by the hospital staff’s heroic efforts to save lives after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami. “At the height of the tragedy, the emergency room included the hallways and at certain times, they had more than 1,000 people in emergency,” Duane said.He added that during the day, as many as 3,000 patients would approach the hospital’s walk-in patient screening seeking treatment.

He also shared that the hospital – the largest in Japan – has the region’s only heliport and shortly after the quake, they were handling more than 50 life-flight rescues daily.

Duane and Ken are confident the With Aloha donations will be put to very good use. The homeless people living in the shelters have no money and no official form of identification. So, the doctors who treat them cannot claim reimbursement from the national health care system. The With Aloha funds will be used in part to reimburse the doctors for the life-saving care they are providing out in the field. Additionally, some of the funds will be used to replace or repair medical equipment necessary to treat patients not only at the hospital, but at the numerous clinics throughout the region.

Having a chance to see Duane and Ken as well as meet the hospital officials really lifted Yasue’s mood. They brought her a small care package from us that included a note from Ian and a picture of him from his recent school trip to Colorado. Although she enjoyed the With Aloha t-shirt also in the package, she especially appreciated the note from Ian. Her mom did too. Sometimes, human kindness can be as simple as a note from a loved one. At others, it can be as meaningful as thousands of people from thousands of miles away helping to raise more than $150,000 to save lives in Japan. Today, Yasue was blessed to receive both.

NOTE: Donations are still be accepted for Tohoku University Hospital online here.