Fighting for life

LIHUE — A former Anahola resident is fighting for her life — but she is not alone.

“I was praying furiously,” her aunt Patricia Hunter-Williams said.

Minette Kuupoli Fernandez, a single mother of two and a teacher, collapsed at Kaimuki Middle School in Honolulu in May 2014 after suffering a seizure due to her weak heart. She was rushed to Straub Clinic and Hospital in Honolulu, where an emergency defibrillator was placed in her chest.

She suffered another stroke in August that was caused by blood pooling at the bottom of her heart and was hospitalized again.

“I was scared because she’s always been super athletic,” Hunter-Williams said.

Hunter-Williams and Fernandez’s cousin Val Kauo-Hayes created the Minette Fernandez GiveForward page with the theme “Heart to Heart,” to raise money to cover medical bills. They also launched the “Fueled by Faith” T-shirt fundraiser campaign in December.

Nearly $8,000 has been raised toward the goal of $25,000.

Kauo-Hayes and Hunter-Williams grew up with Fernandez.

“She’s a very upbeat person. She always looks on the bright side and is very spiritual,” Hunter-Williams said.

Fernandez returned to teaching at her old school in January. She was unable to finish the semester as she faced another heart concern when her defibrillator began to shock her due to ventricular tachycardia, also known as a racing heart.

Fernandez is recovering from surgery in Cleveland.

“For this to happen to her I felt sad. But I knew that Minette was not going to give up on herself,” Kauo-Hayes said.

Fernandez graduated from Kapaa High School in 1984 and attended the University of Hawaii at Manoa on Oahu where she has lived since.



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