Family Says Goodbye to Mother who Battled Cancer - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Family Says Goodbye to Mother who Battled Cancer

Marilyn Moura with grandaughter Sarah Marilyn Moura with grandaughter Sarah
Sharnell Onaga died on April 3 Sharnell Onaga died on April 3
Cliff Onaga Cliff Onaga
Sarah Onaga Sarah Onaga
Sarah and sister Rachel Sarah and sister Rachel

By Angela Keen

(KHNL) - A miracle mom and a miracle baby, many of you know the story of Sharnell Onaga, the Kapolei mother who became a poster mom for Hawaii's Bone Marrow Registry.  You also know she recently lost her battle against cancer.

For the first time, we share the first video of her miracle baby and talks story with her husband and family now left behind to carry on her legacy.

Sharnell Onaga's mother Marilyn Moura reads the words of love her daughter left for her in a note. "Just saying I love you doesn't prove a thing or two its little things that counts, like devotion, and caring and love that comes from the heart.  One of the loveliest words in any language is I love you.  Don't only believe it, give it with body and soul."       

Within nine months, Sharnell received more miracles, triumphs, and challenges than most could ever imagine. 

Pregnant and simultaneously diagnosed with an aggressive form of leukemia, her husband cliff says Sharnell thought of her baby first.

Cliff Onaga said, "Once we found out we were pregnant having the baby was that was the only choice that we had we didn't have any other choice."

She gave birth to Sarah, the family's little miracle just four months ago.  And the family says Sarah was a miracle for Sharnell too.

Moura said, "While she was carrying baby Sarah, the baby was suppressing her cancer until Sharnell gave birth.  I'm thinking she knew there was a miracle out there for her and that she wasn't going to give it up at all not at all".   

 I look at her and I know Sharnell is in her and I know the type of sacrifice she made for Sarah and she definitely holds a special place in my heart just through the struggles we went through to have her.  

The only treatment for Sharnell was a bone marrow transplant.  But after giving birth to Sarah, she became too sick.

Now Sharnell's family wants to carry on her dieing wish, to spread the message of bone marrow and cord blood donation to help others.

"When she was passing she said we need to pray for all of these people with cancer out there and all with different kind of ailments too. She was just incredible", Moura said.

Now her family hears the words she first told us as we talked story on October 11, 2006, letting them know just how much she will always love them. Sharnell said, "Just living day by day.  And don't forget to tell the person you love them, because you never know what tomorrow is going to bring.

38 year old Sharnell Onaga is survived by her three daughters: 4 month old Sarah, 2 year old Rachel, 13 year old Kaila, and her husband Cliff. 

A "celebration of life" for Sharnell will be held at the Mililani cemetery, Mauka chapel on Sunday at 11:30 AM.

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