Loomis boy with rare brain tumor needs help to get operation

LOOMIS – R.J. Kahaunaele may be one of the most confident 12 year olds you'll ever meet, especially considering he has a brain tumor most surgeons won't touch.

The 6th grader has a pineal gland cyst, a growth, right in the middle of his brain. Surgeons all across California have been too afraid to remove it.

"(I get) headaches, double vision and stabbing pains in my eyes," R.J. said "Sometimes really bad pain starts to show up everywhere."

He was just 7 years old when those extremely painful headaches began. Double vision, uncontrollable twitching, muscle spasms and more followed. About two years later, a MRI found the pineal cyst.

"It makes it hard to move, and it makes me real dizzy," R.J. explained.

RJ's family, particularly his mom Janice Kahaunaele, have taken him to neurosurgeons across California. All said they couldn't, or wouldn't, operate.

"It's very frustrating, when your child is suffering, and you can't do a damn thing about it," Kahaunaele said through tears.

The only thing she could do, was not take "No" for an answer.

Through a support group, Kahaunaele found Dr. Dong Kim, director of the Mischer Neuroscience Institute with the University of Texas in Houston. He reviewed R.J.'s case, then called Kahaunaele and said R.J. is a perfect candidate for surgery.

A YouTube video posted by Kahaunaele shows how ecstatic R.J. was to hear the news, saying through a smile, "The doctor from Houston actually agreed to take my tumor!"

The Kahaunaele Family was on a high after finally finding someone that can do something. Then they realized, they can't afford it.

"At first, people would try to give us money, and I would say, 'No, no it's okay.' Then my husband said, 'You're not doing this for you or your pride, you're doing this for our son,' and I have to get passed that," Kahaunaele explained.

MRIs show RJ's cyst is growing, so they're worried how bad it will get if it's left and continues to grow.

To get to Houston, Kahaunaele has started a GoFundMe page in hopes to raise $10,000.

MORE: R.J.'s GoFundMe page at www.gofundme.com/90ws9w

UPDATE Friday, May 16, 2014:

R.J. was able to raise more than $14,500 by Friday night thanks to support by the public. The Kahaunaele Family increased their GoFundMe goal to $20,000 due to the overwhelming support they received by donors and News10 viewers.

In reality, they'll need much, much more.

"Please, please help," Kahaunaele begged through tears. "He's the sweetest boy. He's honest, he's loving, he's my world."

Choking up himself, R.J. added, "If you can just help me get this thing out of my head, I'd be the happiest person ever. And you could not make anybody this happy."

If you'd like to help, visit www.gofundme.com/90ws9w


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