HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Keanu Cua was born with a condition called Leg Length Discrepancy. His left leg is shorter than his right.
"It's the bottom part of his leg and top part of his leg. Both bones are naturally growing shorter for some reason. The same thing with his foot," his mother, Alisha, said.
Keanu had major surgery and sees specialists every few months.
Through it all the 9-year-old keeps a positive outlook.
"When I do something that's hard to do, I think about something that I love to make me push harder," he said.
Shriners Hospitals for Children in Honolulu is studying what physical and psychological factors make it easier for some children and teens to bounce back from major health challenges.
Research coordinator Rob Miyamoto is heading up the project.
“We’re currently assessing how resilient our patients are, and I guess the larger question is why?” he said.
The Shriners Resilience in Youth study is surveying both parents and patients through questionnaires that are filled out independently.
Questions ask for ratings on how quickly the pediatric patients “bounce back” after hard times, and how long it takes for them to “recover from stressful events.”
So far Shriners has signed up 95 pediatric patients for the study. They hope to get 150.
Results will help Shriners to better treat patients who aren’t as resilient and could help determine if the hospital should offer additional services.
"By doing so it will enhance our wraparound care," Miyamoto said.
The study runs through October 2020. The Cua family is anxious to participate.
"Hopefully, like any study, it finds a common tie and maybe we can use that to help other people have better resiliency as well," Alisha Cua said.
Keanu appreciates the care he receives from Shriners staff.
"They have a lot of conversations trying to figure out what to do for me," he said.
His next big surgery will be in about seven years.