Young entrepreneur’s memory lives on through ‘Wishes Forever Fund’
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - It’s a gift that keeps on giving.
Children battling life-threatening diseases are having wishes come true, thanks a young man from Kaneohe who once has his own wish granted.
Taiyo Kaaialii, 19, had one wish – a hydraulic dump trailer.
His dream was to start his own business hauling and renting heavy equipment.
Thanks to Make-A-Wish Hawaii, his wish was granted back in February.
“I can’t even describe how it feels. It’s like one of the greatest moments of my life definitely,” Taiyo said back then.
Taiyo would often use his gift to help others, like transporting a special wheelchair for a fellow wish kid.
“That was his one of his wish-it-forward things. He wanted to give back,” said Taiyo’s mother Aya.
Sadly, Taiyo lost his battle with cancer in June.
“Really unexpected because he had a swelling in his brain and we didn’t know, so it came really quick actually,” his father Paul said.
Taiyo was diagnosed with embryonal rhabdomyosarcoma in 2020. It is a type of cancer that attacks their skeletal muscle tissue.
After he passed, Taiyo’s parents sold his hydraulic dump trailer and donated all the proceeds to Make-A-Wish Hawaii, a total of $10,000.
They say it is what Taiyo wanted.
“That’s just something Taiyo would wanna do,” said Paul.
Inspired by their generosity, Taiyo’s Make-A-Wish sponsors Debbie and Glenn Furuya of Leadership Works decided to also donate and established the Wishes Forever Endowment Fund.
“A lot of the basis of his entrepreneurship was to help people, to provide services,” said Glenn Furuya, Leadership Works Founder and CEO. “He was a very, very giving child … it was just a perfect fit.”
“Taiyo had this dream to be an entrepreneur, and even though he didn’t live to see that dream fulfilled in his version of it, this Make-A-Wish Wishes Forever Fund is so much bigger than that. It’s gonna be able to grant wishes to kids forever,” said Leadership Works Vice President Debbie Furuya.
Make-A-Wish Hawaii says their generosity will honor Taiyo’s legacy in perpetuity and will grant future wish children and their families for generations to come.
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