"Maile's Dream" celebrates differences - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

"Maile's Dream" celebrates differences

Cindy Ogata Cindy Ogata
Paula Fitzell Paula Fitzell
Kamalani Naholoholo Kamalani Naholoholo
Mac Brookins Mac Brookins

By Roger Mari bio | email

HONOLULU (KHNL) - It's an Awareness Fair, held in honor of one child who wants to be accepted for who she is inside. The event is called, "Maile's Dream."

Maile Ogata was born with Apert's Syndrome. It affects about one out of every 160-to-200-thousand live births.

"She was born fused fingers, fused toes and cleft pallet, her head was fused when she was born," said mother Cindy Ogata.

Over the past five years, students at the school have come together for a "celebration of differences."

"The idea of inclusion is fantastic both the children and the keiki with developmental delays and children who do not have developmental delays can learn from each other," said Paula Fitzell of Easter Seals Hawaii.

There are games that children can play to find out what it's like to live with a disability. Those who are challenged get a chance to show that they're just like any other kid.

"I would say that they're inspirational because you know, it's just great to come out here and see Maile now, Maile and everybody else," said student Kamalani Naholoholo.

Maile has gone through 8 major surgeries, 6 of them before her 3rd birthday. Now, at 9-years-old she might seem a little shy, but loves to perform in front of a good crowd.

"Maile has gone through an awful lot of struggles and an awful lot of pain but is still a beautiful child and has a fantastic outlook on life," said Paula Fitzell.

"It makes me feel happy because she's always smiling," said Mac Brookins.

The Ogata family says they got the idea to call the celebration "Maile's Dream" from Doctor Martin Luther King Junior, who said in a speech that people should not be judged by their physical differences, but by their character.

Part of the proceeds from today's "Awareness Fair" will go to Easter Seals of Hawaii's early intervention program.

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