Fundraising successful for Aleizha Ho’opai

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<p>Payton Camara is decked out and ready for ropin’ “anything with horns” at a fundraiser for Aleizha Ho’opai this past Saturday at Anderson arena in Waimea. (PHOTO BY JOCK GOODMAN|SPECIAL TO NHN)</p>
<p>Kale Onaka won his age group in the dummy roping competition at the community fundraiser for Aleizha Ho’opai Saturday in Waimea. (PHOTO BY JOCK GOODMAN|SPECIAL TO NHN)</p>
<p>Sally Macy rides a sheep at the Aleizha Ho’opai fundraiser at Anderson arena in Waimea this past Saturday. (PHOTO BY JOCK GOODMAN|SPECIAL TO NHN)</p>
<p>Four-year-old Aleizha Ho’opai, daughter of Shane and Millette Ho’opai of Honokaa, showed real appreciation for the kids rodeo fundraiser at Anderson arena in Waimea this past Saturday. Aleizha suffers from a urinary disorder that is too complicated for surgeons in Hawaii to tackle. The family needs to go to Ohio for five to seven surgeries to fix her birth defect. Saturday’s rodeo raised several thousand dollars thanks to a huge turn out of Big Island supporters to cover the travel and hospital visits. (PHOTO BY JOCK GOODMAN|SPECIAL TO NHN)</p>

It was a wonderful turnout for the Ho’opai family this past Saturday, April 13, as more than 200 people supported the fundraising for Aleizha Ho’opai. It was a kid’s rodeo fundraiser, held to generate funds for 4-year-old Aleizha, who has suffered from a urinary disorder from birth.

“We didn’t expect to have this kind of turnout,” said Velma De Luz, self-called “Hanai Auntie” who helped coordinate the event. “We raised about $20,000!”

The Ho’opai fundraiser was held at the Anderson Arena in Waimea where seven bands played music, youth enjoyed a mini rodeo and games, and a adults participated in a raffle. De Luz said there were quite a few people who came from off island, and that people from the mainland were sending in checks because of posts about Aleizha on Facebook.

Aleizha was born to Milette and Shane Ho’opai in 2010, but at 2 1/2 years old, she began experiencing urinary issues. Specialists on both the Big Island and on Oahu have said they are not capable of performing the required surgery, and are sending the family to a team in Massachusetts.

“They were supposed to go to Ohio, but we received the news that even they aren’t able to help because Aleizha’s situation is so severe,” De Luz explained. “Now we are praying that the team in Boston will give us better news.”

In order to help with the travel expenses and medical costs, many family friends, the community and loved ones helped organize the fundraiser. Among sponsors for the raffle prizes, the Mauna Lani Hotel, Solimene’s Restaurant, C&A Auto and donations from many sympathetic community members helped fill the prize list.

“We are so grateful for the outpouring of love and we want to thank everyone who came out,” De Luz said.