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KSS cheer squad brightens local boys hospital stay
By PAUL BALCERAK
For a lot of people, the best part of a vacation is bringing memories of the trip back home to share with friends and family. For Central Kitsap Junior High School student Chip Fukuhara, however, his recent trip to Hawaii is one hed probably rather forget.
The CKJH freshman had a mysterious seizure on New Years Day, only about 30 minutes after the clock struck midnight, and has been bedridden in a hospital ever since.
The good news is that Fukuhara was improving late last week and was scheduled to fly home on Sunday, Feb. 24. The bad news is that he still has a long road of tests and medical stays in front of him.
Hes had a lot of challenges, said Chips mother, Joan Fukuhara, from Honolulus KapiOlani Medical Center for Women and Children on Friday. Hes been the brave one and gone through all this stuff.
Chips had plenty of company during his stay at KapiOlani, too. Notably, a member of the Seattle Seahawks Sea Gals cheer squad dropped by, as well as four members of the Minnesota Vikings, who were in Hawaii for the NFL Pro Bowl.
He also got an unexpected visit from Klahowya Secondary Schools cheer squad, which was in town performing at the Pro Bowl pregame and halftime shows.
That was totally a surprise, Joan said. Those kinds of things just kind of lift your spirits.
The squad didnt stay long it was their last day on the island and they had a plane to catch but it was enough.
I think when we came it was more for him on a personal level because were from around here, senior cheer captain Kaylie Barbosa said.
It was just enough to say, Were here and we care and we just want to get you back home, cheer coach Cindy Campbell added.
The Fukuharas have received many other well wishes and support from Kitsap County community members. Joan and Chips father, Paul, has gotten calls offering support from friends, church congregation members and school district employees.
The support has helped, but the family is ready to be back in Washington, Joan said.
Its been tiring, she said. Were ready to go home.
Chip had been feeling ill since his familys arrival in Hawaii on Dec. 13. They had made the trip to visit other family members for Christmas. He took one trip to the Campbell emergency room before New Years Eve, but doctors couldnt find anything specifically wrong with him.
When he had a seizure on New Years, family members and doctors knew something was wrong.
Since that time, Chip has undergone myriad tests to discover the root of his illness.
Hes had multiple system problems, Joan said. Everything is going haywire.
Fortunately, the tests came back and he didnt have any of the major cancers. Weve had all the doctors cycle through (Chips) room.
As of Friday, the plan was for Chip to return to the mainland United States on Sunday and check in at Childrens Hospital and Regional Medical Center in Seattle. More tests lay ahead for Chip and theres no telling when the cause of his troubles might be found.
In the meantime, he and his family have been coping as best as possible.
Were doing OK, Joan said. We believe its the prayers of our friends and everyone back home that have kept us up.
KSS Cheer performs at Pro Bowl
The KSS cheer squads trip to KapiOlani to visit Chip was much appreciated, but the team had some business to take care of in Hawaii as well.
Seventeen members of the squad appeared during pregame and halftime performances at the Pro Bowl shows that about 1,000 girls from across the country were a part of.
For me, the coolest part was being on the sidelines before the halftime show ... standing next to the players, senior captain Megan Friedel said.
It was a big payoff for a lot of work. The squads Pro Bowl appearance came in the wake of winning the highest award at the United Spirit Associations 2007 summer camp.
The work didnt end there, either. Girls who made the trip had about a week to learn the routine that was performed during the shows and then had to audition in Hawaii.
We had to practice every night and that was not fun, Barbosa said. But once we get to the Pro Bowl and got to perform (it was all worth it).
The trip was the teams second, the first being in 2005.
Campbell would love to take the team every year, she said, but the trip is costly.
After the squads performance at the USA summer camp, she was determined to make this years trip.
I said, I dont care what I have to do, Ill get the girls there, she said.
The trip ended on a high note, too. Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck happened to be riding on the same plane as the squad on the ride home.
Hasselbeck met with the squad after the plane ride to pose for pictures and sign about 20 autographs.
He was really down to earth, senior cheer captain Alicia Collier said.