HONOLULU (KHON2) — Patience and compassion are what set extraordinary caregivers apart from the rest.

Sarah Masciangelo should know; she just received a national honor, and her story is part of Monday, Nov. 6’s Kūpuna Caregiver.

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This is the moment Masciangelo learned she had been named Brightstar Care Regional Caregiver of the Year.

“It was the biggest shock of my life,” declared Masciangelo.

But this was no surprise to Keoni Wong’s family.

“She’s just been remarkable and understands our son’s needs and all that he needs to do on the road to recovery,” revealed Michelle Guerrero, who is Keoni’s mom.

Keoni was in a motorcycle accident a year ago in Guam. His rehabilitation from traumatic brain injury has been made easier thanks to Masciangelo’s care.

“From the moment Sarah walked in, and I’ll never forget,” remembered Guerrero. “She looked at him and asked him what he likes, asked me what he likes and remember Sarah, he said he likes Star Wars. Right away, she went into a game: ‘Who’s this character? Who’s that character?’ And Keoni was so responsive.”

“I just know if it wasn’t for her and her determination and her love and her compassion, our son wouldn’t be as far along as where he is right now in his recovery,” confided Guerrero. “You have to be in it for the right reasons. And it’s not about the money. It’s truly about helping people.”

Keoni’s family said Masciangelo provides just the right amount of support along with engagement and empowerment.

Masciangelo’s caregiving excellence not only earned her the Regional Caregiver of the Year Award, but the national 2023 Brightstar Care Caregiver of the Year.

“I think more people can do it that you expect,” explained Masciangelo. “It just takes empathy. It just takes caring about others.”

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“Be a caregiver,” declared Masciangelo. “It’s really a wonderful thing to do with your life. It’s worth your time.”