Kapiolani's Wall of Hope displays images and stories of former patients in the hopes to support and inspire current patients and their families as they brave their own medical journey.

Pekelo Graycochea

Wall of Hope: Stories of Courage & Inspiration


“Kites rise highest against the wind – not with it.” Winston Churchill 

Pakelo GraycocheaAfter a firework exploded next to Pekelo Graycochea on New Year’s Eve 2016, the 9-year-old was rushed to a nearby emergency department.

He received medicine and his burns were bandaged up, but he would still need to see his primary care physician when the clinic reopened after the holiday. 

Two days later, Pekelo was referred to the burn center at Kapiolani Medical Center. 

“Pekelo stayed in the hospital for I think two days,” recalls his mom, Suzette. 

“The doctor cleaned the wound and they put on a piece of felt that worked like a scab. For the next four to five weeks, I would bring him to the doctor for a recheck,” she explains. 

Pekelo’s treatment lasted a total of two months. Although he was at first scared about the unknown – Would he be in more pain? What were the doctors going to do? – Suzette says the medical staff at Kapiolani helped ease any fears Pekelo and his family had. 

“From the first day we walked in the doctor’s office for the initial visit, there was a medical assistant there with an iPad to keep (Pekelo’s) mind occupied as the doctors did what they needed to do. I really appreciate that – it made him feel OK with what was happening and kept him distracted,” says Suzette. 

Thanks to the support he received at home, school and Kapiolani, Pekelo today is still the happy child he was prior to his accident. 

“His spirit hasn’t changed at all,” Suzette says. “He is still a happy child. I believe with all the help and support he received when he was in the hospital, at home, and at school, he was able to adjust well. He was scared for a while, was a little shy, but as he healed more, the better he got.” 

Indeed, Pekelo, now 10, hasn’t let this unfortunate situation deter him from doing what he loves. According to Suzette, Pekelo was all set to participate in the physical fitness meet held every spring at Castle High School. 

“I was going to take him out because I didn’t think he would be able to do any of the physical events they have,” she says. 

When Suzette went to speak to the coaches, Pekelo stopped his mom and said he wanted to try the standing long jump. 

 “He jumped almost 6 feet! After that, he said he felt good and he wanted to participate. So at the event he did his jump and he placed first!” Suzette says. “That was such an amazing day, and the look of how happy he felt that day was one of his best days after all he went through.”


Published on: October 31, 2017