LIHUE — “I’m working three jobs for that girl,” said Simon Texeira while watching the NFL Super Bowl at Kalapaki Joe’s at Kukui Grove Center. “I not going let that girl down.”
Texeira, the adopted grandfather of Hulali Kiyoko Rivera, 4, of Anahola was among the crowd which filled the sports bar at the mall Sunday.
Rivera, who was diagnosed at 8 months old with a rare cancer of the retinas known as bilateral retinoblastoma, was the beneficiary of a “lucky drawing” held by Kalapaki Joe’s during the football game. In recent years, she also has been diagnosed with choroid plexus papilloma and epilepsy.
Anolani Higashi, Hulali’s mother, said she had family, as well as her hula sisters from Ka Lei Mokihana O Leinaala, representing Hulali at the other Kalapaki Joe’s locations including the Harbor Mall in Nawiliwili, Poipu and Waimea.
Adding to the excitement of the game — where fans appeared to favor the Seattle Seahawks, judging by the number of blue jerseys in attendance — Higashi said drawings for prizes livened up the quieter moments.
The money raised at all four Kalapaki Joe’s restaurants during the fundraiser will be donated to Rivera and her family.
Jody Valente, owner of the string of sports bars on Kauai, said the NFL Super Bowl event is an opportunity for Kalapaki Joe’s, named after Valente’s father, to give back to the community.