A Hilo couple’s journey from health battles to happily ever after
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - After video of a Hilo man’s romantic proposal went viral, the 25-year-old couple is sharing their love story and the unexpected challenges they overcame along the way.
Ka’ohao Boteilho and Cassidy Keli’i met in their senior year of high school in Kea’au. They stuck together through college in Denver, Colorado, when life threw them a curve ball.
“I was getting sick a lot. After taking several blood tests, the doctor came in and told me I have leukemia. I was like, ‘What?!!’ recalled Kelii. “She told me I have acute myeloid leukemia, which is a cancer of the blood and bone marrow.”
“It just turned our life upside down pretty much,” said Boteilho.
“The survival rate is low,” explained Kelii.
“Because I was 20 years old, they told me I had a pretty good chance of being okay after the three rounds of chemo.”
Kelii celebrated her 21st birthday in the hospital. Eventually, she turned the corner and got the all-clear.
Just as they were returning to a sense of normalcy, life took another unexpected turn.
“I went to a doctor, and she tested my egg health and my ovaries. She basically told us that I had the eggs of a 42-year-old woman, and I was 21 and that in three to five years, I wouldn’t have any more eggs left,” said Kelii.
Unable to harvest and freeze her eggs, they tried IVF and never gave up hope.
A year later, the couple welcomed a baby girl.
“I was just crying the whole time,” said Kelii.
Their life was full of surprises, but Ka’o had one more surprise at the Nani Loa Hotel.
Behind the scenes, Kelii’s mom had organized plans for a surprise proposal that included a choreographed dance with family and friends to a song by the couple’s favorite music artist, Hawaii’s Bruno Mars.
Tears streamed down Kelii’s face as she watched the flash mob from a balcony and was handed more than 24 long-stemmed red roses.
Her family led her to the oceanfront, where her high school sweetheart presented her with a ring.’
“I definitely want to spend the rest of my life with this woman. I knew I wanted to marry her,” said Boteilho, looking back on that special day.
“I didn’t think that day would ever come,” said Kelii.
After all, they had been through, there’s no such thing as waiting for dreams to happen but making them happen.
“Cherish the time that we have together with your family and the people that you care about because life can change in the snap of a finger,” said Boteilho.
Copyright 2023 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.