Friends of Bobby Kawakami help injured bicyclist who escaped death

Sharon Kawakami
Sharon Kawakami
Ivy Pescador
Ivy Pescador
Francis Kawakami
Francis Kawakami

By Mari-Ela David bio | email

PEARL CITY (KHNL) - Loved ones of an Oahu bicyclist who nearly died after a car slammed into him more than two months ago, are calling on the community for support.

In one week, Friends of Bobby Kawakami will gather to help the Pearl City husband and father, who is now a paraplegic.

Robert Kawakami is all smiles. His road to recovery will soon lead him home.

"It's a miracle he's still alive," said Ivy Pescador, Kawakami's daughter.

Robert, also known as Bobby, is at the Rehabilitation Hospital of the Pacific, working hard to regain his strength and balance after a bicycle accident left him paralyzed from the chest down.

"He's such a trooper, he never complains to the nurses or doctors," said Kawakami's wife, Sharon.

The June 29 accident happened at the intersection of Hoolaulea and Noelani Streets in Pearl City as Kawakami was riding his bike to work.

His family says the car hit Kawakami so hard, a witness reported seeing his body fly up in the air, higher than this stop sign.

"And all his friends that ride a lot too said they can't believe it happened to him because he's the safest of them all," said Pescador.

Always sporting a helmet and safety gear, Kawakami's family says he took up bicycling as a way to cope with his grief.

In 1995, Kawakami's youngest son, Francis, died suddenly after going into cardiac arrest. He was only 19 years old.

At the Kawakami home, friends and family are modifying the rooms to make them wheelchair friendly, and make life easier when he comes home October 1st.

"With this paneling we can help control the heat in this room. As you can understand, Aiea's not a very cool place," said Victorino Macapagal, a family friend.

Keeping Kawakami cool is vital since he can no longer regulate the temperature of the paralyzed part of his body. Overheating, could be life-threatening.

But with his wife of 41 heart-warming years by his side, in sickness and in health, Kawakami is slowly peddling his way back to a normal life.

"I'm going to try really hard. Because he's always taken care of me so now it's going to be role reversal and I'm going to help take care of him," said Kawakami's wife, Sharon.

Friends of Bobby Kawakami are holding a fundraiser to help pay for his medical bills, and home modifications, which total more than $800,000 so far.

It's on Sunday, September 27th at Ige's restaurant in Aiea from 4:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Tickets are $50 dollars per adult and $20 per child.

For ticket information, contact Ivy Pescador at or call 626-1719.

Donations can also be made at Aloha Pacific Credit Union in the name of Robert S. Kawakami.