Ronald McDonald House
By Gene Davis
H awaii Island’s Neav McAlister has been dealing with a situation that no mother ever wants to face —her four-year-old daughter Faith Pai’s serious medical issues. Faith was diagnosed with AML, a form of leukemia, in September and endured a treatment plan of four intense chemotherapy rounds.
After the last round, Faith’s blood counts improved enough, and mom and daughter were able to check out of the Ronald McDonald House and return home to Captain Cook for Faith to recuperate.
Mom, Faith, and dad Rafer, can’t wait for their lives to be restored to normal — although Neav says that it never really will be exactly the same. “When you’re told that your child has a life-threatening condition, every-thing changes.”
On Oahu, mom was like a rock of support for her daughter, mustering the strength and courage each day to guide Faith through her many appointments and medical procedures –and the down time in between. Neav, a first time mom, managed to be Faith’s best friend and favorite play-mate, too. With mom by her side, Faith knew the Ronald McDonald House was her home, even if it would be temporary.
Neav describes being a mom this way: “It’s this all-encompassing thing. You are the nurturer, guardian, teacher, and cheerleader,” she says. “My daughter inspires me every day with her amazing amount of energy and her enthusiasm about the wonders of nature. This Mother’s day I felt so grateful, fortunate and just happy being a mom.”