Current Fighters

Anonymous Female Cancer Fighter on Maui

UVSC respects each individual’s preferences regarding their privacy and confidentiality. We are incredibly grateful for their willingness to share their words and stories to offer hope to others, in whatever capacity they are comfortable with.

During my cancer journey, the pandemic happened, my 25 year marriage ended and Maui Fire happened. When everything felt like falling apart all at once, I felt devastated and didn’t know what to do with my diagnosis which was stage 4 breast cancer. As I faced my death, I really started facing my life… my journey to coming back to myself began. I didn’t focus on healing the disease, rather I focused on holding my values clearly than ever.  I’m from Hiroshima Japan, as a second generation of Atomic Bomb survivors. There is heavy karmic energy attached to cancers. I had to really think how I can use my life in that family lineage. I decided to embrace and be with cancer cells without any judgement. I love them just like the rest of my healthy cells. I focus on being my authentic myself. That’s the only thing I have been thinking through this journey. To live or die, I will do that in knowing and honoring who I am and what I am.

My life has clarity to enjoy myself fully while I have this beautiful body. I see myself the same with or without cancer. Which requires self love to override anything that I encounter. I fill my body and my field with my love without wanting anything from outside. So in the end, my journey has become my self-discipline and my prayer to honor my soul/ my being.  

I’m enjoying myself a lot and so grateful that I can feel my authenticity. I’ve been doing miraculously well. I’m very proud of myself of finding/honoring myself and having deep peace in the middle of unprecedented chaos around me. 

Much love and aloha

UVSC has assisted this beneficiary with out-of-pocket expenses related to alternative cancer treatments so she is able to manage her treatment plan and conditions in a way that works best for her.


Meet one of the UVSC’s youngest warriors,  Solomone Lewis, from Kahuku, O’ahu. He is 3-years old and is the youngest of five siblings. Diagnosed in June 2023, Solo is bravely battling high-risk B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia having recently undergone chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy* infusion. Juggling steady employment and caring for their other children while also managing to be by Solo’s side at the hospital has been challenging for Solo’s parents, William and Kolotina. UVSC has provided financial support to cover past due rent payments and ensure the Lewises can be with Solo and give him the best fighting chance as he continues treatment.

*Chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy is a way to get immune cells called T cells (a type of white blood cell) to fight cancer by changing them in the lab so they can find and destroy cancer cells. CAR T-cell therapy is also sometimes talked about as a type of cell-based gene therapy, because it involves altering the genes inside T cells to help them attack the cancer.


“Aloha, my name is Danilo Aseo. I’m a 70 year-old immigrant (from the Philippines) that was diagnosed with small cell lung cancer at the end of last year. My wife and I have been in Hawaiʻi for over 10 years now. For the past 10 years, I worked in the agriculture industry. I was a farmer and enjoyed working on the outdoors. Unfortunately, due to my ill health, I haven’t been able to perform much of what I used to enjoy. I have been out of work since November of 2023, which placed us in a difficult financial situation.
Fortunately, I’ve met positive and generous individuals during my treatment which made this journey less frightening. I would like to offer my sincere gratitude to UVCS for providing us financial assistance. Thank you again for all your hard work and for always being on top of things. We truly appreciate you. 

And for those who are experiencing hardships in their cancer journey… Know that there’s people willing to help. Continue to have hope and keep fighting.”

In addition to managing Danilo’s cancer, he and his wife experienced additional financial hardship as a result of the Lahaina fires when the farm they worked for cut back their hours due to lack of tourism. In addition, the couple was suddenly evicted from their residence due to their landlord being foreclosed on. They were able to find temporary lodging with other family members until securing another rental a few months ago, but are still struggling due to reliance on a partial single income while Danilo is in treatment. UVSC has been able to provide rental assistance to ensure that Danilo and his wife/caregiver have safe and stable housing as he continues his cancer treatment and recovery.


Meet UVSC Beneficiary, Eric. He is a single father of two teenage boys and is bravely battling Stage 3 colon cancer. After his family lost their home in the devastating Lahaina fires, he and his sons relocated to Kahului, but he is unable to work due to his medical condition and frequent doctor visits. Because English is not Eric’s primary language, his sons bravely take turns accompanying him to his doctor’s appointments to act as translators – oftentimes needing to miss school to do so. As he continues to navigate his cancer journey along with the challenges of finding permanent, affordable housing and caring for his sons, UVSC hopes to ease his family’s financial burden so he can continue to focus on healing, living and enjoying time with his sons.

During the August wildfires on Maui, about 40% of the people living in Lahaina were of Filipino descent and many of those do not speak English as their primary language. This adds further difficultly and complexity to accessing fire relief and assistance services, and government benefits. UVSC is fortunate to have strong partnerships with other community organizations, like Pacific Cancer Foundation, whose skilled cancer navigators have been able to assist us with language translation and outreach to the Filipino community.


Kosianjra is 18 years old and was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia in May 2023 as she was nearing completion of her senior year at Kamehameha Schools on Maui. Kosianjra was living with her mother, Tamara, and younger brother at the time. Shortly after that, the cost of rent was increased significantly by the family’s landlord forcing the family to move out and stay with friends temporarily until they could afford another place. During this time, Kosianjra began her cancer treatment at Kapiolani Medical Center for Women and Children on O’ahu while her mom stayed at Ronald McDonald House and her brother was housed with other relatives on Maui. There is no pediatric cancer care available on Maui so Kosianjra must travel to O’ahu for all of her appointments, tests and treatments, which adds a significant amount of cost and physical/mental exhaustion to managing an already difficult situation.

In the August fires, the temporary housing where Kosianjra and her mom could stay when they were back on Maui in between treatments on O’ahu was burned, so they were placed at the Hyatt. Limited housing inventory has made it impossible to find rental housing on Maui that is affordable for a family of three on a single income – especially while Kosianjra and Tamara must regularly travel and spend extended, unknown amounts of time on O’ahu for her treatment regimen.

Many Maui Fire Relief programs have very narrowly defined qualification criteria, which has hindered Tamara’s ability to obtain housing and financial resources to support them during this challenging time. UVSC’s financial assistance has helped Kosianjra and Tamara relocate to O’ahu and obtain stable housing during Kosianjra’s ongoing treatment for the next six months.

Tamara has continued to maintain her employment by flying back and forth from O’ahu to Maui every few days, often working full day shifts and returning without sleep to be back at Kosianjra’s side while she bravely fights cancer. Recently, Tamara shared her story with American Cancer Society’s national leadership team to bring greater awareness to the experiences, issues, and challenges faced by the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities in Hawai’i that are facing cancer in the aftermath of the Maui fires. The strength, love, determination and resiliency of this family is nothing short of astonishing and UVSC is proud to support them.

March 2024 Update: Kosianjra is now receiving outpatient services and recently graduated. Congratulations Kosianjra!!


My name is Madoka Franklin. I am a wife and mother of two beautiful children and live in Lanai. I love my family very much and a “beach day” with them is my favorite thing to do.

My family went through medical issues in 2022 and I was their care giver. After my family members had recovered, I was diagnosed with Stage 2 breast cancer when I had my annual mammogram in March 2023.

When I heard the news, my heart was broken because my kids are still young. Also, I was the main provider for our family and I didn’t know what to do with our finances.  I was scared and hopeless. I couldn’t eat or drink anything for couple of weeks, but I had to stand up and get ready to do whatever needed to be done for myself and family.

I had right breast mastectomy in May and chemotherapy in July. When I had chemotherapy, I had to stay on Oahu for three whole months. It was really hard for me being away from the family. I missed their first day of the school, my son’s birthday, basketball game and so on. Thankfully for technology, I was able to maintain my emotional health with daily video calls with them.

My next step is reconstruction surgery and hormonal therapy. I am slowly going back to a regular routine after this surgery, but I will do it a little bit different this time. I will slow down and take care of myself more and enjoy the present moment, especially time with family.

I am really thankful for UVSC with their assistance and also the people on Lanai’s loving support.


Iluminada’s name means “illuminated” or “enlightenment” and she has been her family’s guiding light since day one. At the current age of 78, Iluminada is a mother to four children, a grandmother to nine grandchildren, and a great grandmother to a great grand-daughter. Affectionately known as “Mama,” she was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in 2007 and has endured several treatments including thyroid removal surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy and drug therapy. In 2019, her cancer developed into Metastatic thyroid cancer, also known as stage 4 thyroid cancer, which meant that it had spread from the thyroid gland to other areas of her body. As a result, Iluminada had to have a laryngectomy, which is a surgery to remove one’s voice box. This gave her a greater chance at extending her life, but it also meant that she would no longer have her natural voice.

For those who knew Iluminada prior to 2019, you knew that she was always the life of the party! To this day, she loves hosting parties and cooking various Filipino dishes. She enjoys spending time with friends and family and she doesn’t let her inability to speak naturally, or her cancer, get in the way of her daily activities. She attends church most everyday, unless she’s feeling a bit run down.

As residents of Lahaina, Maui, Iluminada and her family were recently impacted by the devastating wildfires in August 2023, which led to loss of their vehicle and employment. In addition, the medication required to treat Iluminada’s cancer has extremely high co-pays due to its limited availability and lack of generic options.

Although hour-long commutes to the doctor’s office in Wailuku can be a bit tiresome for her, she never complains one bit. Iluminada’s daughter, Merilou, shared, “I am a firm believer that her faith in God, as well as the medical treatment she’s getting, has kept her with us for the past 16 years! Our entire family is grateful to UVSC for providing the assistance our mom needs to continue fighting this disease. With your support, you are keeping the light within Iluminada alive.”


James Clover Bitzer is a lively 3 year old and “smart as a whip” says his dad, Jason Bitzer, a 15-year Lifeguard veteran on Oahu. Jason and his wife, Roberta Bitzer, an environmental scientist who is also very active with non-profit organizations on Oahu, are now in the biggest rescue attempt to help their son. James was recently diagnosed with stage 4 neuroblastoma with an MIBG positive diagnosis. However there is hope at Sloan Kettering in New York, nearly 5,000 miles from Hawaii.

The family is currently at Sloan Kettering on the East Coast, as they cater to this specific disease. UVSC stands beside them to help provide that much needed strength and hope as they split their time between Hawaii and the East Coast and take on this daunting task and heavy costs.


In July 2022, our Kawaihala’ilanamalie, better known by her ‘ohana as Hala’i developed a lingering fever, stomach pains and began to limp. While traveling back and forth to O’ahu and undergoing numerous diagnostic tests, her parents, Lee Jon and Nalani never left her side.

On August 18, 2022, our sweet Hala’i was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma after a mass was detected between her right kidney and spine. Additional testing and biopsies have confirmed a stage 4 diagnosis as cancer has spread to her left thighbone and into her bone marrow.
Hala’i’s first round of chemotherapy was on September 13th at Kapiolani Medical Center for Women and Children. Her initial treatment plan was for 21 days, followed by stem cell transplants and additional rounds of chemotherapy. Despite all of the discomfort our Hala’i has endured in the last several months, she still lights up the room with her beautiful smile and joyful spirit.

James Gonzalez-Wesley

James Gonzalez-Wesley is a sweet, affectionate 4 year old boy with a playful laugh and dimples that bring a smile and joy to everyone he meets. Little James loves to sing songs, go to the beach, pop water balloons and play with his family and friends.

James’ parents, Matias Gonzalez-Wesley and Malia Lonzaga, first noticed he wasn’t gaining weight, he looked pale and was less playful. He would not run around as usual and complained that his legs hurt. His parents took James in for a blood test and the results were alarming and indicative of possible cancer. James and his parents raced to Oahu where he was diagnosed via a bone marrow test with b-ALL Leukemia on 1/21/20. The following day little James began an intensive chemotherapy regimen that involves 5 chemo drugs (plus others to control side effects), multiple spinal taps and bone marrow tests, and the insertion of a central line i.v. “port” to deliver fluids and chemo directly into his heart.

His parents have not left his side. The family is experiencing the tremendous hardship of being away from the support of family and friends and they are unable to work. They are, however, determined to face this challenge with bravery and optimism and they will do everything they can to comfort and care for their child, while trusting that God has a plan for James.

James, although weak from treatment, still manages moments of humor and tender sweetness. The hospital nurses continuously comment on what a cooperative patient little James is, as he extends his arm out for yet another blood test.   Before becoming ill, James would play Doctor with his stuffed animals, carefully checking their vital signs with a pretend stethoscopes and thermometers. Now, during treatment, he has an intense curiosity and intently watches what the doctors and nurses are doing and his family can’t help but wonder if his future lies in the field of healing and helping others.

James’ family looks forward to the day that he will be home & back to playing doctor with his usual enthusiasm. Although this is not a journey the family would choose to take, they are so grateful that they do not have to walk it alone. With UVSC and the love and support of the community, the family hopes and plans for a bright future for little James.