Event raises funds for foundation

By Simplicio Paragas

Jean Nakanishilikes to think that hospitals save peoples’ lives and they rebuild them at the Rehabilitation of the Pacific. As Hawaii’s only comprehensive medical rehabiliation hospital, the Nuuanu facility takes in patients who’ve suffered a stroke, been involved in an auto accident or endured some form of acute physical injury.

“We teach them to be as independent as possible when they leave here,” says Nakanishi, executive director of REHAB Foundation, which helps raise funds for the hospital, and has a primary goal of enhancing and enriching a patient’s rehabilitation experience, as well as facilitating their return to the community. “We teach them to relearn how to stand, how to walk, how to talk, how to swallow and how to eat.”

After Larry Price underwent quadruple bypass surgery in 2005, he was admitted to the rehab hospital for extensive therapy. “I was 240 pounds and I could barely move,” says Price, who co-hosts the popular Perry and Price radio show on KSSK. “I was unable to do anything independently — not get out of bed, not walk, not even sit up without assistance. There wasn’t a single thing I could do without the help of one, or even five or six other people! I came to know REHAB as a place where miracles happen.”

Daren Choi recovered from an accident with the help of REHAB.

Daren Choi could barely move his left side before coming to REHAB.

©REHAB Foundation

Indeed they do. While cycling on the Big Island, Dr. Carolyn Ma was struck by a car, breaking both her hips, tailbone, arm, leg and ribs, and puncturing her lungs. “As a health care professional, the staff at REHAB showed me that the skills of compassion, communication, listening and patience are even more important to display to patients,” says Ma, pharmacy practice professor at the University of Hawaii at Hilo. “Small words of encouragement, a genuine smile and serving as a cheerleader for your patients mean more than you will ever know.”

Price’s and Ma’s stories are not unique but they do show the critical services that REHAB provides to the community. To continue to do so, the Foundation organizes annual benefits, including the 15th annual Joy of Food & Wine fundraiser on August 24 at the Halekulani.

A longtime advocate of the event, Warren Shon says he’ll continue to support the Joy of Food & Wine as long they’ll have him. “I won’t stop until they move me out,” quips Shon, executive vice president and general manager of Southern Wine & Spirits, which is providing the wine for the evening. “We’re committed to supporting this event.”

This year’s guest chef will be Daniel Stern of the acclaimed R2L restaurant group based in Philadelphia. “He’ll be working with Vikram (Garg, Halekulani’s executive chef) and his team,” Nakanishi says. “It should be another great evening of food and wine.”

Joy of Food & Wine

When: Friday, August 24, cocktails start at 5:30 p.m.

Call: 566-3451

Tickets: $350 per person


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