The Inspirational Andrew Sato

Pamela Young
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Wednesday - April 02, 2008
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Last month Aiea High School held a special commencement ceremony for17-year-old Andrew Sato, diagnosed with leukemia at the age of 8. The senior’s foster mother and legal guardian, Lynn Gamata, and school administrators were not certain Andrew’s health would hold up until June.

On March 1, Andrew passed away. Aiea senior counselor Ben Shimabuku wishes to give APPLAUSE to all who touched his life.

Dear Pamela,

In all the 22 years I’ve been counseling, I have never met a student like Andrew Sato. Despite all his medical problems, I never heard him complain. Even when I saw him in ICU, his concern was for the people visiting. He once told his foster mom, Lynn Gamata, that they should pray for me because I was worrying too much.

Since we announced to the school of his passing, several students have knocked on my door because they want to talk about him. His impact here was tremendous.

At the graduation ceremony, the seniors were chanting, “Andrew, Andrew ...” I asked who started it and was told the left tackle on our offensive line got it going. He inspired all of us with his insight and composure.

Recently another senior requested counseling because a family member was diagnosed with cancer. He looked at Andrew’s picture on my wall and hopefully gained strength from it.

I wish to recognize his foster family, the staff at Kapiolani Hospital, especially head nurse Dianne Fochtman, and David Louis from Heart Gallery Hawaii for being there for Andrew.

And, of course, I give much APPLAUSE to the students of Aiea High School, in particular the senior class. Andrew brought them all together. They united for one cause. He gave them an incredible gift and they supported him throughout his time at Aiea High School.

Ben Shimabuku
Aiea Senior Counselor

Dear Ben,

Although Andrew was abandoned as a child and spent years in foster care, he found a loving family with the Gamatas and an extended ohana with his teachers and classmates at Aiea High School. How privileged the seniors are to be able to take his message as guidance for their adult lives.

(If you know someone who deserves some Applause, send your letters to Pamela Young, MidWeek Applause, KITV, 801 S. King St., Honolulu, HI, 96813 or e-mail Include your name, phone number and, if possible, the phone number of your “applaudee” so we can contact him or her.)

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