Little Things, Big Differences – For Maka

Meet sixteen-year-old Maka Almarza, from Waipahu. His sisters call him “Mr. Aloha” because he has such a friendly and outgoing personality. He has a collection of hats and is always seen wearing one!

Almarza OhanaMaka at the hospital

Maka has been fighting a brain tumor since he was three years old. The tumor, which was treated successfully in 2005, returned in 2015, was partially treated, and returned again in 2017. Maka has complete hearing loss in his right ear, partial loss in his left, and blurred vision which makes it difficult to attend classes at Pearl City High School. His mother, Nalani, is his full-time caregiver, therefore unable to work.

The Almarza family has endured many challenges over the years. Maka lost his older brother, Malu, who tragically drowned as a toddler. His nephew, Keawe, was diagnosed with Adrenoleukodystrophy in 2015 and passed away this past July, also on service with Hospice Hawaii. Through these challenges, the Almarza’s continue to grow closer and stronger as a family. They remain faithful and positive through Maka’s life journey and even have a Facebook group called #Pray4OurHeroMaka to spread awareness of childhood brain tumors and have a place where friends and family can send prayers and encouraging words to Maka. Nalani believes that losing her son and grandson prepared her to help other families who are going through similar situations. She organizes candlelight ceremonies through her church to help other families heal.

Nalani would appreciate some Little Things that will make a Big Difference to her son, such as Foodland gift cards to assist with the daily cost of living and gas cards to visit family in Waianae and go to the beach. The Almarza family’s main focus is to spend more time together, doing things that are joyful and meaningful. Maka loves to go fishing but no longer has a fishing rod. Maka hopes to go on more family outings while he still has the strength, such as bowling at Barber’s Point, going to the movies, and a relaxing stay at Aulani. Please consider helping Maka and his family create memories they can cherish. Mahalo!

Here are some Little Things that we know will make a Big Difference to Maka:

  • Fishing rod and supplies
  • Movie Passes
  • A stay at Aulani
  • Foodland or Don Quijote Gift Card
  • Tesoro or 76 Gas Card
  • Pearlridge Gift Card

Donations may be dropped off at Hospice Hawaii’s office on Iwilei Rd.