Kupuna Caregiver: Breast Cancer Survivor

Kupuna Caregiver

HONOLULU (KHON2) — As the Food Services Director at Kapiolani Medical Center, Brenda Wong loves being in the kitchen.

“I like cooking and I like eating,” laughs Wong.

She also likes listening to our kupuna.

“I like old people. I like the stories they have to tell. They tell me stories about old Hawaii and how they grew up. What living was like,” says Wong.

Wong has done some living of her own after being diagnosed with breast cancer in 2007. 

“I thought I would be benign but it wasn’t. I thought what a twist of fate because I’m not well endowed and now they’re going to take out more? How’s that,” questioned Wong.

But the mother of three didn’t feel sorry for herself. Instead, she preserved.

“My father and brother had passed away and I knew my family couldn’t take another death. So my kids were an inspiration and kept me busy. They made sure I was awake and kept me moving around,” says Wong.

After beating breast cancer, Wong cared for her aunty who lived to be 100-years-old.     

“We had a deal where she would cook for me breakfast and I would buy her her groceries. She was actually my caregiver trainer and she would tell me what to expect,” says Wong.

Wong would later care for her mother-in-law and father-in-law. Now, her mother.

“Shortly after my mother-in-law passed away, we found out that my mother had cancer. But she is one tough Chinese lady. Her doctor said that she went through her surgery and treatment better than most young people. They’re totally amazed and credit it to the support that she’s gotten,” says Wong.

That support includes family dinners and walks around Kahala Mall.

“We put two tables together and we have dinner. She starts her walk and we usually push her to do three laps. My mom has always been family oriented. So family first, and she always volunteered. She always asks why I volunteer so much, and she doesn’t realize it’s because of her example. So it’s just giving back and keeping busy,” says Wong.

And a simple thank you.

“I think it’s just that. My aunt would always say thank you and that’s all that it means, is that you made a difference. That’s why i do it,” says Wong.

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