Brave little fighter with rare disease named 'Hero of the Month'

Kyra Furukawa
Kyra Furukawa
Alan Furukawa
Alan Furukawa
Tracy Marie Leilani Furukawa
Tracy Marie Leilani Furukawa
Debra Horiuchi
Debra Horiuchi

By Mari-Ela David - bio | email

PUNAHOU (KHNL) - Imagine having a child who is in so much pain, comforting them with a hug or kiss would torture them.

Tha'ts what a brave little girl on Oahu is going through. She has a disease so rare, it affects only three children per million.

The disorder left Kyra Furukawa fighting such intense pain, it hurt to walk.

But she's shown so much spirit and courage throughout her treatments, Kapiolani Medical Center's Kids Wish Network named her September's 'Hero of the Month'.

She's taken some painful baby steps on her road to recovery. But within the past few weeks alone, Kyra has made great strides in her journey to one day walk on her own again. The 5-year-old can now take short strolls without much help.

"That is to us, it's miraculous. To us she's a miracle," said her father, Alan Furukawa.

Kyra suffers from juvenile dermatomyositis, a condition where the body's immune system attacks the muscles and causes severe inflammation.

"It was very hard to see her in pain. I would pray to God that he would give me the juvenile dermatositis and that way she would be healthy," said Kyra's mother, Tracy Marie Leilani Furukawa.

At Kapiolani Medical Center where Kyra has physical therapy twice a week, the little trooper has spent the past month trying to conquer this rare disease that has no cure, one that left her in such exruciating pain, within a month after symptoms flared up in April, she could no longer walk.

"You couldn't even touch her. You try to take her to the toilet or take her to the bathroom, it was sore, she would just scream in pain, it was very very hard on her," said Kyra's mom.

"She was not walking, not rolling, she couldn't even sit up in bed. She didn't even have head control," said Kyra's physical therapist, Debra Horiuchi.

But Kyra is now holding her head high. These days, her mind is not on her disorder. It's on beating her dad.

"I like to race Daddy on the treadmill," she said.

"In everything that we do, she always wants to be the winner," said Kyra's father.

And based on her progress, it appears Kyra is right on track to winning back her normal life, one brave step at a time.

"That's what really helps her progress so fast, so quickly, is that determination. I've never seen in anybody the kind of determination I've seen in her," said Kyra's dad.

Horiuchi says Kyra may walk independently again in two months.

Her parents say if it wasn't for Kapiolani Medical Center, they'd have travel to the mainland for their daughter's care.

Kyra's doctor is one of only two pediatric rheumatologists in Hawaii.