HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The past few days have been heartbreaking ones for Paul Klink and his son, Leo, after Leo's mother, Hiroyo, suffered a fatal brain hemorrhage during Saturday's state soccer championship game. But he says the outpouring of aloha has helped him and his son cope with the tragedy.
Klink spoke publicly for the first time since Hiroyo passed away Tuesday.
According to Klink, last Saturday night started out as a happy time for the family. "We were having a blast," he said. "It was halftime. We'd just seen Leo make a goal. It was the happiest moment of our life. I looked up a couple levels up in the bleaches and there she was. And we had that moment."
But things completely changed just a few moments later, when Hiroyo wanted to use the restroom.
"She looked at me and said I feel a little bit dizzy. And I noticed that her left arm and her left leg were dragging," said Klink. "I just looked at her and said, 'smile.' She looked at me like I was nuts. But she tried to smile and the left side of her face didn't move."
Klink said he had recently learned that it was one of the signs of a stroke. "So I grabbed my phone from the holster and as I was trying to prop her up and dialing 911 for an ambulance, she was getting mad. 'Don't call an ambulance, don't stop the game,'" He recalled her saying. "I'm like, you can be mad at me and try to live. I'm gonna call 911, and I did."
Hiroyo was taken to Kaiser Moanalua Medical Center. She didn't want her son told about what happened until after the game, in which Leo scored three goals in Kalani High School's championship victory.
"Somebody asked me once, 'What's the best sound in the world and what's the worst sound in the world?' The best sound in the world is Leo's laugh. But the absolute worst sound in the world is him crying over his mom when she's dying," said Paul Klink, fighting back tears.
Hiroyo Klink's death has brought great sorrow to her family and friends. But because she was an organ donor, it also has brought the promise of life to others. Her lungs are among the organs being donated.
"Two people, one for each of her lungs, and then one person for each one of her kidneys, and then her liver. So in her passing, Hiroyo's going to help five people survive," said Paul Klink. Hiroyo's corneas and some tissue are also being donated.
"Like Leo said, she puts the 'hero' in Hiroyo. She's gonna help five people live," he added. "We're so honored to have that opportunity to help other people with our tragedy."
Paul Klink is one of the originators of the "Live Aloha" movement in the 1990s. He said the outpouring of public support has helped him and his son through this very tough time. "It might be redundant, but people really live aloha, and ohana is not a trite term. We've really seen it over the past few days," he said.
Klink is disabled and has been unable to work because of a congenital heart condition. He said Hiroyo was the breadwinner of the family. "Her dream was Leo would go to college. And if people can help us make that happen, I'd appreciate it."
A Facebook page has been set up for the Leo Klink College Fund. Donations can also be made at any branch of Bank of Hawaii.
Services for Hiroyo Klink are tentatively scheduled for Tuesday.
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Related link: Facebook page for the Leo Klink College Fund