Meet Hekili

Realizing a Field of Dreams: Hekili’s Story

When Hekili was 4 years old, his shoelace got caught under the wheels of a trackless train at a family birthday party in Hilo. After being dragged over 100 feet before the train stopped, Hekili suffered a severe friction burn to his right foot. Devastated and unsure if he would walk again, his parents Leilani and Jason had him treated for his burns at another hospital before seeking out specialized orthopedic care from Shriners Hospitals for Children.

Due to the severity of his injuries, Hekili needed skin grafts and custom orthotics to help him learn to walk and run again. While he continued to receive treatment at our Honolulu Shriners Hospital, he was also able to visit the Shriners outreach clinic in Hilo, close to home.

“We really appreciated being able to see his doctors close to home versus having to fly,” said his mom Leilani. As he grew older, Hekili faced the numerous challenges of his recovery and rehab like a champion and persevered to the delight of his family and friends. He was soon able to participate in the outdoor sports activities he loved and even served as the Honolulu Standard Bearer for the Shriners Children’s Open PGA golf tournament in 2019, where he met several golf pros and carried their scores.

“I was really excited to represent Hawai‘i and meet other Shriners patients from across the country,” remembered Hekili. “And to do it all at a PGA tournament and getting the chance to meet professional golfers made it even more exciting."

Today, Hekili is 17 years old and no longer requires orthotics.

An avid bodyboarder and baseball player, his life experiences have helped shape his future plans, which includes a career in medicine inspired by the care he received. No doubt that overcoming a significant health challenge at such a young age coupled with his tenacity and grit will help him realize his dreams!

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