Ailing Children Find "Silver Lining" Thanks to "Hugs"

Ashley Sepulveda
Ashley Sepulveda
Isabella Sepulveda
Isabella Sepulveda
Donna Witsell
Donna Witsell

MAKIKI (KHNL) -  Every dark cloud has a silver lining.

That saying is the inspiration behind a program that looks to raise the spirits of children who must undergo a painful medical procedure.

Doctors diagnosed, 3-year old, Isabella, with leukemia last January.

To have a chance, she must now undergo dreary, but necessary, chemotherapy treatment.

''To see a child go through what they go through and at the end of the day, they get to pick a prize, it's so rewarding to see that.  That people actually care to give to people they don't even know," says, Isabella's mom, Ashley Sepulveda.

She's talking about the "Silver Lining" program.

It provides that "little something special" for children, after they've undergone a painful and emotionally draining medical procedure, such as a spinal tap, or in Isabella's case -- chemotherapy.

The program is put on by the island organization, HUGS."

''It's an amazing experience just to see a child going through chemotherapy or some other yucky, painful procedure," says HUGS executive director, Donna Witsell.  "Their eyes open and there's a big smile on their faces."

Spirit-lifting treasure chests can be found at three Honolulu hospitals -- Tripler, Kaiser, and here at Kapiolani Medical Center.

For teenage patients, "Silver Lining" offers free movie tickets.

But don't forget, these free goodies don't come free.

''This is something that's year-round.  So, we rely on donations from our community and grant-support to continue this program."

Click on the "HUG" link, if you'd like to help.