Carmin Kageyama

Sarah Pacheco
Wednesday - June 25, 2008
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For Carmin Kageyama, life at Kapiolani Medical Center for Women and Children has come full-circle. She gave birth to each of her five children there, and now she is volunteering her time to help those whose life is ending.

Kageyama first got started with the Kapiolani Butterfly Program in 1997 shortly after her daughter Cheryl graduated from high school and wanted to get involved with a local volunteer program. Shortly after contacting Lisa Chung, director of volunteer services at Hawaii Pacific Health, both began sewing Christmas stockings that are used to wrap newborns when they are released from the hospital on Christmas Eve and day.

Last year, Kageyama, pictured above with 6-month-old Laci Ah Yee, says she started a new chapter by dedicating her time to Kapiolani’s Butterfly Program. This program provides bedside care, bereavement assistance and overall support to infants, children and young adults who are at the end of life. Kageyama makes beautiful fabric butterfly ornaments that land on the patient’s door to alert others to give the family peace and respect. She also lends her talents to create quilts for the children to hold for comfort as well as bags for staffers who work in the hospital.

Although she had no formal training with a needle and thread, Kageyama credits her friend’s grandmother, Mildred Kanno, who she affectionately calls Baban (Japanese for grandmother), for teaching her how to quilt. And Kageyama continues to use those quilting techniques and patterns to ensure no two creations are ever alike. She can spend up to three hours creating a butterfly and between eight to 10 hours for a stocking. To date, Kageyama has given more than 1,000 hours of her time to the Kapiolani Crafter volunteer program.

“I just like to give. When I see somebody smile and appreciate my things, I feel happy about it,” she humbly says.

“Really, it really makes me relaxed,” she says. This 1975 Farrington grad and grandmother of four jokes that if a day goes by she isn’t behind her sewing machine, her 7-year-old granddaughter scolds her for not sewing.

“I can’t believe it’s been 11 years already,” she says of her service to Kapiolani and its patients. “It went by so fast! I would encourage everyone to give of themselves, whatever they can do. It’s really rewarding to volunteer.”

For more information on Kapiolani’s Butterfly Program or Crafter Volunteer club, contact Lisa Chung at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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