Mercer Island community raises funds for teen resident diagnosed with cancer

While watching their sons play lacrosse on Mercer Island over the last four years, the Brown and Carpenter families developed a friendship.

Keawe Brown and Luke Carpenter began honing their lacrosse skills as teammates beginning in fifth grade, and this spring the boys hit the high school level as freshmen on the junior varsity squad.

On April 21, Keawe was diagnosed with with Ewing’s sarcoma, and Gail Carpenter felt she needed to help the Brown family during this tough time.

Carpenter spearheaded a GoFundMe campaign on May 1 with a goal of $25,000 to help with chemotherapy treatment and potential surgery and radiation. As of the morning of May 5, a total of $51,233 had been raised, and Carpenter feels it’s incredible and inspiring to witness the page light up with immense support from the community.

“The heartwarming outpouring of kindness we’re seeing speaks not only to the character of the Browns — both of whom have dedicated their careers to helping others — but also to the spirit and love in our MI community and beyond,” Carpenter said.

Keawe, 14, participates in lacrosse, football, skiing and surfing in his dad Keoni’s hometown on Oahu. Keawe has begun a 29-week chemotherapy treatment plan, and his mother, Michelle, has taken a leave from work to attend each treatment and care for their family, which also includes sixth-grader Kainoa.

“My family has been overwhelmed by the love, support and generosity of our community, as well as friends and family,” Michelle said. “The support has given us the strength we need to endure the road to full recovery and we are forever grateful. This will leave an everlasting impression on my family and we look forward to the day when we can pay it forward.”

The family’s special word that they say is “IMUA”, which means to go forward with strength, courage and in strong spirit.

As people have rallied around the Browns with donations, they’ve also posted uplifting messages on the campaign page. A pair of the notes are, “IMUA Keawe! Stay strong!” and “Prayers and positive vibes going out to Keawe and your family to help in this fight against the cancer and lift you all up in this journey.”

According to the campaign page, Ewing’s sarcoma is a cancer that develops in connective tissues, including bones, cartilage, muscles, veins, arteries, nerves, skin and tissues.

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