HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Kaiya Mack just celebrated her eighth birthday. The energetic Oahu youngster who sings and dances has overcome a lot of adversity in her young life.
“I was born with gastroschisis, which is a sickness. So your intestines are on the outside of your body. I was staying in the hospital for four months of my life,” she said.
Kaiya had six operations to correct the problem, two of them last year. That meant trips to mainland specialists and extended stays.
During her surgeries, Ronald McDonald House Charities in San Francisco helped her family with lodging.
“The families who stay at the Ronald McDonald House and all the services that we provide, we do not charge anything,” said Jerri Chong, RMHC Hawaii president.
Kaiya’s father, Jonny Mack, said that took a lot of pressure off his family during a stressful time.
“Thank God they opened their doors for us because it’s really expensive to fly over there for an operation and to find someplace to stay for a couple months is hard,” he said.
Jonny Mack is a concert and festival producer. He made a video of Kaiya doing a cover of George Michael’s hit “Last Christmas.” Then he got an idea.
“These nonprofits and these organizations still need help,” he said.
That’s how “Kaiya Mack’s Holiday Giveback” was born. She’s trying to raise $10,000 for Ronald McDonald House Charities.
“They took care of me and they made me feel better so I want them to feel better,” she said.
She’ll split the donations between the Ronald McDonald houses in San Francisco and Oahu.
Chong said the non-profit has had a drop in financial gifts during the pandemic.
“We very grateful, very, very grateful for all that she’s doing. And it really couldn’t come at a better time,” she said.
You can read more about Kaiyas story at KaiyaMack.com. There’s a donate button there that takes you directly to the Ronald McDonald House Charities page.
“The money doesn’t come to us it goes directly to them,” Jonny Mack said.
“On Christmas Day everybody who has donated we’ll send an email out because we have all the emails and we’ll send them the ‘Last Christmas’ song.”
Kaiya says these days she feels much better, and she hopes a lot of people join in her fundraiser.
“Please donate so you could helps kids like me,” she said.
The campaign ends on Jan. 8.