A Mom's Loss Becomes A Mission To Save Lives

Lani Almanza
Lani Almanza

KANEOHE (KHNL) - This story is about inspiration born out of personal tragedy. It's a Talk Story we discovered last week during our live broadcast at Windward Mall. It's one woman's story and her mission to save lives.

Lani Almanza is a mother of four. Her youngest is Jacob. He showed artistic talent at a young age.

"We were like, 'Did you copy this from a book or where did you see this?' And he said, 'No, it was a picture in my head,'" Lani recalled.

When Jacob was nineteen, he started having headaches that just wouldn't go away. After numerous tests, doctors delivered some shocking news.

"I had three messages on my cell phone that said, 'They found something. They're admitting him now. Get here quick,'" she said.

Jacob had brain cancer.

"It was devastating," Lani said. "Very scary."

Jacob went through almost two painful years of radiation. He died just before Christmas 2005.

"As hard as things got, it was harder for him," Lani said. "And he stayed strong until the end."

In the midst of his battle, Jacob got involved with the American Cancer Society. Now, Lani continues her son's cause.

"As hard as it is sometimes, that's what I need to be doing is to share this story with other families," she said.

Lani said Jacob continues to inspire her.

"I love you," she said. "You're my hero."

Lani is in charge of all American Cancer Society relays on the windward side. If you'd like to participate, click on the link on this page.