MANOA (HawaiiNewsNow) - He's helped train professional and olympic athletes, but now the strength and conditioning coach at the University of Hawaii is looking for assistance to help the most important person in his life, his daughter.
Over the last 15 years Tommy Heffernan has helped transform some of the most successful athletes to come through Hawaii to their full potential, but when the Hau'ula boy leaves Manoa his work is far from over. Tommy's daugther, Hilina'i is 8-years old, and at first glance you wouldn't know what she struggles with on a daily basis.
"She's a sweet girl, very loving. but she has hypotonia, so she has low muscle tone so she has trouble with balance. She needs a lot of work with her speech and motor skills. She's 8-years old, but they have her leveled at 2-4 years old with her development, " said Tommy Heffernan, UH Strength and Conditioning Coach
Special needs require special attention, and that care can be expensive. So after one sleepless night Tommy decided he needed to enroll his daughter in a school that can provide her with a chance to reach her full potential. The "Variety School" is one of the best.
"They have all their people in house. speech therapist, occupational, physical, they're all in there everyday at school, so they can tailor each childs needs on a daily basis," said Heffernan.
But without the money to pay for the yearly tuition, Tommy decided he would hold a fundraiser for the sake of his daughter. So at just past 12:01 this Saturday morning Tommy will make a 37-mile trek from Hau'ula Elementary to the Variety School at Diamond Head.
While the road will be rough, he says any awareness he can bring to Hilina'i's cause will be worth it.
"I've learned how to celebrate the simple things in life now. Just by her walking up the steps. Small things that most people take for granted,"