Four local fourth graders are funding breast cancer research in Hawaiʻi in honor of relatives who have battled the disease, and their $760 donation makes them the youngest known donors to the University of Hawaiʻi Cancer Center.
The four girls—all students at Punahou School—raised the money through a series of bake sales and will presented a check to the UH Cancer Center on Friday, June 5.
After the donation celebration the girls toured the UH Cancer Center and spoke with researchers Lenora Loo and Brenda Hernandez about breast cancer research at the center.
Honoring relatives and breast cancer survivors
The four students, Kiyera Werny, Shaylee Ungos, Devyn Goo and Kendall Kirton, designated the money for breast cancer research because Werny’s aunt and Goo’s great grandmother are both breast cancer survivors.
“This donation shows a level of maturity, generosity, hard work and caring that sets the example for all donors, of any age,” said Jerris Hedges, dean of the John A. Burns School of Medicine and interim director of the UH Cancer Center.
Werny ’s aunt, Sandra Shim, is a pharmaceutical sales representative whose battle with breast cancer inspired the girls to choose cancer research for their philanthropy. “It was super-duper scary but luckily Aunty Sandra is very strong and brave, and fought the cancer. And now she is cancer free!” said Kiyera.
Goo’s great grandmother, Mildred Goo, is a 19-year survivor of breast cancer.
The girls are also donating a portion of their proceeds to the Hawaiian Humane Society, where two of the girls adopted dogs. All of the girls acknowledged the encouragement of their teacher, Kris Schwengel, and the support of their families in raising the money for the donation.