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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Single mom's fortitude tested

By Will Hoover
Advertiser Staff Writer

Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser
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If you want to help, send checks payable to “The Advertiser Christmas Fund” to Helping Hands Hawai‘i, 2100 N. Nimitz Highway, Honolulu, HI 96819.

Monetary donations may be dropped off at any First Hawaiian Bank branch or The Advertiser’s cashier’s desk. Credit card donations are accepted by phone at 440-3831.

Donations will be accepted through Jan. 2.

To donate online, go to www.honoluluadvertiser.com/xmasfund and click on the Christmas Fund icon.

To schedule a donation pick-up for large items, make a monetary donation by phone, or get information regarding adopting a family, call 440-3800 or e-mail hhh@helpinghandshawaii.org.

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Michelle Poasa, a Pälolo Valley single mother of four, has relied on inner strength and the courage of her convictions to see her through life's hurdles.

"There's too many people who pray for mountains of difficulty to be removed, when what they really need to ask God for is the courage to climb them," said Poasa, 40.

Lately, though, Poasa's peaks of tribulation have taken on what could be insurmountable, alpine proportions.

Her fortitude was tested earlier this year when she was diagnosed with a serious heart condition that has left her unable to work.

She will need surgery soon, and has said she wishes this holiday season to be special for her three sons, ages 18, 8, and 4, and one daughter, 10.

With the prospect of mounting medical bills and other escalating expenses, Poasa can no longer count on the considerable financial support she has received in the past from her oldest son, who left for college in September.

This loss of income in the midst of Hawai'i's severe economic crisis has left Poasa facing financial hardship.

Meanwhile, her 8-year-old son has developed such emotional and behavioral problems that he requires treatment from the Honolulu Family Guidance Center, a Health Department mental services program for children with conduct disorders.

Officials say together with the help of agency service providers, Poasa has worked hard to minimize the boy's challenges even as she maintains an upbeat attitude about her desperate medical and financial circumstances.

"Despite Michelle's serious health concerns and difficulties this year, she has remained positive," said Cheryl Cabusas, a case worker with the guidance center. "She continues to be there for her children and always puts her family at the forefront."

This family would appreciate any assistance this season to brighten the Christmas holiday, she said.


Kay Kawatachi — $400
In loving memory of Harold and Nora Mizumoto — $300
Sandra Kodani — $150
Perry White — $150
From the Altruistic Society — $100
In loving memory of Ronald and Ann Kushima — $100
Edward and Elsie Heu Ching — $100
Dorothy L.H. Liu — $100
Lars and Mary Anne Nelson — $100
Douglas Hankins — $50
Elsbeth Madinger — $25
Rachel Sokugawa — $20
Anonymous — $100
Anonymous — $50
Anonymous — $50
Anonymous — $25
Total — $1,820
Previous total — $65,550
Grand total — $67,370