Yolanda Domingo
Yolanda Domingo

Yolanda Domingo, an inspiring heart transplant recipient who earned degrees from three University of Hawaiʻi campuses and went on to serve as a social worker, died on October 20.

Domingo moved attendees at the annual University of Hawaiʻi Scholarship Celebration at the Stan Sheriff Center in March 2020, when she shared how scholarships changed her life and helped her rise above daunting challenges. These included raising her family while fighting cancer and receiving a heart transplant. Domingo earned her liberal arts degree from Leeward Community College, her bachelor’s degree in social sciences from UH West Oʻahu, and her master of social work from UH Mānoa, all with the help of multiple scholarships.

“She was an inspiration to so many of us, and perhaps even a hero! Battling cancer and having a heart transplant while pursuing her education is unfathomable…but Yolanda made it happen,” UH Foundation Senior Executive Director of Scholarship Development Malia Peters wrote in an email. “She was a recipient of the Charles Hemenway Scholarship for multiple years and she often credited that for her success. As an alum she served on the Hemenway Scholarship Committee as result of her gratitude.”

Peters also said that Domingo was not feeling well when she addressed the March scholarship celebration, but “it was important for her to say thank you to UH, to donors, to scholarships that made her education possible and allowed her to do her life’s passion working in the medical social work fields helping so many families.”

Domingo was ill in the hospital for many months, and her family has started a GoFundMe account to assist with her medical bills and burial.

Yolanda Domingo’s second chance

Related story from UH Foundation: Yolanda Domingo’s second chance, August 21, 2014