Today, Kalley-Mae (pictured with parents Kevin and Cherilyn) is a feisty 4-year-old who loves to run, jump, dance and run "really, really, really, really fast."

From Micropreemie to Athletic All-Star: Hilo Heart Patient Excelling Thanks to Care from Kapiolani


In the fall of 2018, Hilo residents Cherilyn and Kevin Yee were expecting a baby. Cherilyn was due in the spring, but 10 days before Christmas – when she was just 23 weeks pregnant – she noticed something was not quite right.

The Kapiolani Critical Care Transport team flew with her from Hawaii Island to Oahu, where doctors at Kapiolani Medical Center for Women & Children determined that her baby was in distress and would need to be delivered right away.

Kapiolani's team performed an emergency cesarian section.

Their baby, a daughter they named Kalley-Mae, measured 11.81 inches long and weighed 1 pound, 6.6 ounces when she entered the world.

The tiny micropreemie was immediately placed in an incubator in Kapiolani's Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). A ventilator helped her breathe, and other specialized machines kept her alive.

She was so small and fragile, even her parents were afraid to touch her.

A few weeks later, doctors discovered a problem with her heart. Kalley-Mae needed open-heart surgery. She was only 46 days old.

It wasn't the last challenge during her 183-day stay in the NICU. The little girl endured two bouts of pneumonia, 10 blood transfusions and subsequent surgeries on her heart and eyes.

Today, Kalley-Mae is enjoying her life back home on Hawaii Island. When she's not dancing or jumping, she is playing as many sports as she can.

She loves hitting the field with her T-ball team and, as Kalley-Mae puts it, "running really, really, really, really fast."

Watch the video below for Kalley-Mae's full story and to hear from her parents and the Kapiolani team about this inspiring story of hope.



In 2023, Kalley-Mae was named the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals (CMN Hospitals) Champion for Kapiolani Medical Center for Women & Children. Visit our News page to read the news release, Hawaii Island Girl Kalley-Mae Yee Named Hawaii’s 2023 Children’s Miracle Network Champion.



Published on: October 2, 2023