Get Up 8: Offering Help and Hope

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The foundation is a recipient of a grant this year from The Rafu Shimpo Foundation.

The Get Up 8 Foundation was formed by a small group of friends who believed in the importance of a strong, well-supported community.

Through the years it has provided help to individuals and families who have needed assistance to overcome challenges. More information on the foundation can be found online at www.getup8.org.

Following are updates on two recipients of Get Up 8 grants.

Kelli Sakaguchi

Kelli Sakaguchi with brother Nicholas (center) and cousin Tyler Allen.

Kelli Sakaguchi was just 13 in 2015 when Get Up 8 organized their annual outrigger race to raise funds for her medical needs. Kelli suffered critical injuries, including brain trauma, a broken leg and damage to her spinal cord, in a devastating car accident on June 23, 2014.

Today, Kelli attends Rolling Hills Preparatory School and is looking forward to college. She has applied to four UCs and six liberal arts colleges and wants to double-major in science and English. Kelli continues to go to physical therapy on Fridays after school and Saturday mornings.

“Overall, I think, physically, I’ve improved a lot,” says Kelli. “Each day, I’m learning to be more comfortable with my injury and functioning with it. As I learn the way that my body works, I’m finding it easier to do daily things.”

She said she has grown tremendously in her four years in high school from a shy freshman to a confident senior.

“I still struggle to believe in myself with the same faith as everyone else,” says Kelli. “But it comes easier now. With every patient smile from my peers, with every encouragement scrawled in the margins from my teachers, I believe in my thoughts. With every push from my friends, with every look of pride from my family, I believe in myself.

“So thank you to everyone who has ever believed in me. Thank you so much, whether you’re a therapist, a nurse, a doctor, a teacher, a coach, a friend, or a family member.”

Krissy Kobata

Krissy Kobata enjoys spending time with her nieces Aidan (center) and Caroline Kobata.

Get Up 8 held a fundraiser in 2017 for Krissy Kobata, who was diagnosed with a blood disorder called myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), a condition in which her bone marrow does not produce normal blood cells.

Krissy has been in recovery from her bone marrow transplant for just over a year now. Prior to the transplant, she had to undergo three days of chemo followed by four days of total body radiation twice a day. In order to destroy her own bone marrow, she underwent this grueling week so that her body could accept the donor cells. After a long year of physical ups and downs, she was able to celebrate her one-year anniversary on Dec. 1, 2018.

Things are going really well for her now in remission. Krissy has gone from having doctor visits two times a week to now seeing her doctor once a month. She is also working on weaning off medications slowly but surely. Since her transplant, she has had three bone marrow biopsies and each time, the biopsy shows 99.98 percent donor cells as well as no myelodysplasia in her marrow. She recently was able to email with her donor and they are working on arranging a time to meet.

In her recovery process, she has found her love of reading again, cooking for her family, and exercising to continue building back her strength. Overall, Krissy feels so lucky and blessed to have been fortunate to receive her donor’s stem cells and so far, they have been living harmoniously in her body.

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