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Family needs help amid medical crisis

By Staff | Mar 24, 2011

Olivia Bianco, 5, is a cheerleader for the Lahaina Chiefs.

A young girl in the West Maui community needs help in her fight against a brain tumor.

Five-year-old Olivia Bianco, a kindergarten student at King Kamehameha III School and Lahaina Chiefs cheerleader, was ill for a few weeks.

On Friday, Feb. 25, doctors ordered an MRI and medivacked Olivia and her mom, Momoko, to Oahu. The doctors there discovered that Olivia had a brain tumor.

The youngster was transferred to California and underwent brain surgery on March 8. “Miss Olivia” was stable throughout the surgery, and her doctors are happy with the outcome.

Olivia faces more tests, additional surgery when she is stronger to remove some microscopic tumors from her spine and, eventually, chemotherapy. The family has been posting news on her progress at www.caringbridge.org (search for “oliviabianco,” one word).

“She has a long road ahead of her — keep praying,” wrote family friend Kay Ryan in a recent e-mail.

Living in Kahana, the Biancos are well-known in the West Side community.

Olivia’s dad, Alex, works as a bellman at The Westin Kaanapali Ocean Resort Villas and at the Kapalua Bay Golf Course. Momoko works at the Coach store in Whalers Village.

Sister Julia, 11, attends Lahaina Intermediate School, competes on the Lahaina Swim Team and dances hula at the Napili Kai Foundation. Olivia’s brother, A.J., 8, attends King Kamehameha III School and played with the Lahaina Chiefs and in the West Maui Youth Basketball League.

Both parents are with Olivia in California. Between lost work, travel and medical expenses, the family will need financial assistance for a period of time.

To help, the staff at Coach will host a fund-raiser at Timba at 505 Front Street on March 31 at 9:30 p.m. A benefit garage and bake sale is also slated at 135 Kahana Nui Road on April 9 from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. (Items can be donated starting April 4; call 669-0451 to make arrangements.)

Other fund-raising opportunities are in the works, including a golf tournament, “Swim-a-thon” and fishing tournament.

To make a donation, checks made out to Alex Bianco may be mailed to Kay Ryan, P.O. Box 12661, Lahaina, HI 96761. For information, call 669-0451 or e-mail kay@mauikay.com.

“Please continue to pray for healing for Olivia and for the strength of the family during this difficult time,” Ryan concluded.