For 16 years, Koauka has entertained audiences with their island music.
Bass player Keahi Lau had it all -- a great career and a beautiful family. But last August, his life was turned upside down.
"I got up one morning, getting ready for work and as the day went by I just started getting these headaches," Lau said.
Lau thought he was tired, but the headaches lingered.
"On the sixth day, that morning I was at work. I just felt this warm tingling sensation come down my face, come down my shoulder, my arms, my legs. And in a matter of 10 seconds, I couldn't speak, I couldn't move," Lau said.
It happened again that night and he was rushed to the hospital. An MRI showed his brain was bleeding and he had suffered a stroke.
"When they came to the room and they told [me], 'We think you have what is called Moyamoya,' my first reaction is, 'What is Moyamoya?' I've never heard of it before," Lau said.
Moyamoya means "puff of smoke" in Japanese, describing the look of the tiny vessels formed to compensate blocked arteries that supply blood to the brain. There is no cure. The only treatment is a high-risk surgery.
For several months, Lau showed no symptoms and thought perhaps doctors were wrong. That changed in July when he suffered another stroke.
"No exercising, no doing anything strenuous to me. It's kind of like cheating my life, cheating my kids' life," Lau said.
After suffering nearly two dozen strokes, the 35 year old sat down with his wife and their five children and decided it was time.
"Just get out there and make memories with my kids, with my family and stuff. And that's why I chose to have the surgery done," Lau said.
Lau will fly to Stanford University in California and undergo surgery on Nov. 26. Friends in the music industry are holding a fundraiser on Nov. 3 to help offset travel and medical costs. Lau aims to be back in early December.
"Real quick, so I can be out there back enjoying my time with family, back on stage doing what I've been blessed to do. I've been very fortunate," Lau said.
After all, he still has it all.
- The fundraiser for Lau will take place Sunday, Nov. 3 at Pau Hana Lounge from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m.
- Donations can be made at any American Savings Bank location: "Kokua for Keahi"
- You can also donate at http://www.gofundme.com/ by searching for "Keahi Lau."
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