KAPALAMA (HawaiiNewsNow) - A student boarding at Kamehameha Schools' Kapalama campus died suddenly in his dormitory last week. His grieving family believes he suffered an asthma attack. Relatives are now working on a tribute in his honor.
Bryson Keliipio, 16, was the oldest of six children. He grew up on the Big Island and later became a boarding student on Oahu. He died in the Lunalilo dormitory on April 2. His family believes he had an asthma attack since they almost lost him to one several years ago.
"For the longest time, he could never go to a friend's house. He didn't go on camping trips. He didn't get to do anything fun because I was so worried something was going to happen to him," said Michelle Lee, Keliipio's mother. "When he had the opportunity to go to school, it hurt me so much but I let him go."
Keliipio belonged to an anti-bullying group at school. He also sang at church on Sundays. His family said he planned on attending culinary school after he graduated.
"All his friends are there and they're all so sad," said Lee. "These boys basically lived with him every day."
Kamehameha Schools issued this statement:
"Our Kamehameha students and staff members who knew and loved the young man continue to share his family's great sense of loss. We join with them in the process of grieving and healing."
According to the family, it could take up to 12 weeks for the Medical Examiner's Office to release the cause of death. Relatives are now raising funds for his funeral and are considering starting a scholarship in his name. An account has been set up at Bank of Hawaii under the name "Bryson Keliipio Memorial Fund." Donations are also being accepted at gofundme.com.
A memorial service will be held on May 3 at 10 a.m. at Mokuaikaua Church in Kailua-Kona.