Miracle caddie an inspiration at the ACE Shootout - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Miracle caddie an inspiration at the ACE Shootout

Raquel with parents Norma and Eric Raquel with parents Norma and Eric
Putting with Bo Jackson Putting with Bo Jackson
Being interviewed for Hawaii News Now Being interviewed for Hawaii News Now
Sitting on George Gervin's lap Sitting on George Gervin's lap

By Malika Dudley - bio | email

LIHUE, KAUAI (HawaiiNewsNow) - Raquel Taniguchi is a kindergartner at King Kaumuali'i school on Kauai. Recently she got the opportunity of a lifetime to serve as "miracle caddie" for the Ace Golf Shootout. Raquel got to rub shoulders with some of the world's premiere athletes, while also inspiring them with her story.

This 6 year old, is anything but typical. Full of spunk and energy, you can't help but smile, when she looks at you. But what she can see through those eyes, is entirely up to her doctors. Raquel has been in and out of hospitals since birth. "She was diagnosed with a hemangioma and it did overwhelm her left eye. She went through one surgery and she'll be having another soon and we're very hopeful that it will be 100% this time around," explained mom Norma.

Bringing sight back to her left eye, before it's too late. The Children's Miracle Network was founded to help kids like Raquel. To date, 3.8 billion dollars have been raised. Some of that money, goes straight to Kapiolani, right here in Honolulu. Roger Cook, is the Vice President for Public Relations at Children's Miracle Network, "The interesting thing about the funds that are raised here is that they are funds that are not directed to any one single program so that means the hospital can choose how they're going to spend those funds."

In the case of Raquel and her family..."Pretty much they paid for it .. just 100 percent," explains her dad, Eric. Raquel says "They're very nice and they still take good care of me." But a hemangioma could never define Raquel, and she doesn't let it. "Well that's because it's going away the hemangioma thing and we do a lot of patching, a lot of patching to strengthen her eye. so it can go away and it will stay away!" says Raquel.

She's definitely one to speak her mind. When asked why Bo Jackson was her favorite player, she explains, "Because... he scored." Raquel picked Bo to putt with her after she saw him sink his putt and win that part of the challenge. Bo said, "That made my day more so than after I put in my putt. She told me while we were sitting on the long drive, she told me "The next time I go out to play golf I want you to play with me." Aw... yes she did so we tight like that now."

But Bo wasn't the only one she left an impression on. Big Break Disney's Mike Perez says, "Raquel, she's such a sweetheart, she's just a little cutie pie." Clyde "The Glide" Drexler says, "She is quite fantastic what a personality I love her, awesome she's so beautiful." While George "the Ice Man" Gervin, noticed... "She's a pretty good golfer, got a tremendous smile. She is real spunky and you know you just glad to see a smile on a babies face." NFL Hall of Famer Steve Young liked her too, "Raquel is very cute and wonderful girl like all the people I've met over the years that have fought through some tough things, indomitable spirit and an inspiration."

Among elite athletes, her presence is not diminished. In fact, she shines. At the reception, she even jumped on stage to perform a hula. Roger explains what that was like, "I just, I just... I melted. It's just is evidence of what Children's Miracle Network can do. It's to put a smile on the face of a child like that who has been through so much but now to have her have a normal, healthy, happy life." Reporting from Lihue, Kauai, Malika Dudley, Hawaii News Now.

To donate to Children's Miracle Network click HERE for a link to their website.

For more on the 2010 ACE Golf Shootout click HERE.

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