Thieves steal from teen about to undergo brain surgery at Stanford Children's Hospital

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ByVic Lee KGO logo
Wednesday, April 20, 2016
EXCLUSIVE: Thieves steal from teen about to undergo brain surgery
A family that traveled here from Hawaii so their son could undergo brain surgery at Stanford Children's Hospital is devastated after thieves stole from their van in San Francisco. It's a story you'll see only on ABC7 News.

PALO ALTO, Calif. -- A family that traveled from Hawaii to the Bay Area to get surgery for their son's brain tumor had their belongings stolen from their car. Among the things taken were items of medical and sentimental value. It's a story you'll see only on ABC7 News.

Fourteen year old Kaikea Ahuna, his parents, and two brothers live on the Hawaiian island of Kauai. They're here in Palo Alto at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital Stanford because Kaikea has a brain tumor and will have to undergo a challenging and difficult surgery.

"It's very deep up in the skull base, so it's in an area that is surrounded by a minefield," said neurosurgeon Gerald Grant.

Last Friday, the family parked their car at the wharf near Pier 39 across the street from the Aquarium of the Bay. They were gone half an hour. That was all it took for thieves to break into their car and take their bags from the trunk.

Camera equipment, electronics, and a suitcase with Kaikea's hospital items were gone. But most important to his mom Kanoe Ahuna, the get-well cards from family and friends were taken.

"I was really saving them for him to read to him while he was in the hospital during recovery," she said. "And those are the kinds of things that can't be replaced."

It was a rude San Francisco aloha for the Ahuna family. Back home in their small town on Kauai, this would never happen.

"I leave my car at the airport and we don't ever lock the doors," said the teen's father Dan Ahuna. "I sometimes leave my keys in the car."

But the most important thing on Kaikea's mind is the surgery, which he hopes will help him do the things he wants to do, like sing and continue to do competitive hula dancing and play volleyball.

And he has a positive attitude about his brain tumor.

"I feel like it's made me more stronger because now I can more understand myself and connect better, yeah," he said.

His other first name, by the way, is Rocket. Through this ordeal, he and his family are keeping "Rocket Strong."