KOLOA, KAUAI (HawaiiNewsNow) - Extensive stays in the hospital have been the norm for little Pa'akamana'o Lee. Since birth, Pa'a has had 8 operations and 2 open heart surgeries; one at 10-days-old, another at 5-months-old. This month, the 2 and a half year old and his family had to leave their home in Koloa, Kauai once again for Rady Children's Hospital in California. Pa'a just underwent his 3rd open heart surgery this past Wednesday.
It's been a tough journey and his mother and father, Nicole and Kalawai'a Lee have been documenting it all on Facebook.
"It's heart breaking. Nobody ever wants to see their child go through pain and we just wish we could take that pain away from him," said Nicole Lee.
"It's hard as a father to not be able to hold your son when he's asking you or not be able to comfort him when he's in a lot of pain," said Kalawai'a Lee.
Pa'a suffers from Hypoplastic Right Heart Syndrome. His heart has only 2 chambers, instead of the normal 4. It's extremely rare, there are no known causes and it's a life-long condition with no permanent fix.
It's been difficult for Kahekili to see his little brother go through so much.
"I wish Pa'a would get better faster than ever," said Kahekili Lee.
Through it all, Pa'a has been a fighter and a symbol of strength and inspiration to not just his family, but the Kauai community who've held fundraisers and runs in support.
"He's such a trooper we call him super Pa'a. He has so many people supporting him and boosting his morale," said Nicole Lee.
"It's really changed who I am. It's really simplified our lives and helped me focus on what truly is important to us," said Kalawa'ia Lee.
Pa'a knows the road to recovery will be a long one but his parents say he is determined to get better.
It'll be about a month before Pa'a is given the all-clear to return home to Kauai. You can track Pa'a's progress on the Facebook page "Friends of Pa'akamana'o" and if you'd like to help the family with their growing medical bills, there's a link to donate at the website: www.powerofpaa.com