Moanalua’s Leila-Rose Coloma Named Hawaii’s 2024 Children’s Miracle Network Champion


Young patient holding large Children's Miracle Network logo alongside her cardiologist.

She spent her first months of life in intensive care units and underwent open-heart surgery before she turned 1. Now 7 years old, Leila-Rose Coloma is definitely a survivor, and today, it was revealed that the little girl from Moanalua is the 2024 Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals (CMN Hospitals) Champion for Kapiolani Medical Center for Women & Children.

Leila and her family were greeted by cheers from supporters attending the annual CMN Partners event at The Royal Hawaiian Resort Waikiki. She will share her courageous story throughout the year, inspiring countless CMN Hospitals community partners and supporters committed to the health and well-being of Hawaii’s keiki.

Her story began in 2017, when Kayley Coloma was nine months pregnant. Everything had been normal, until doctors heard her baby’s heart racing. Kapiolani’s team performed an emergency C-section and brought Leila into the world.

Leila-Rose Coloma happily holding hands with mom and dad

The little girl had a challenging path ahead. Leila had Ebstein’s anomaly, a rare defect of the heart valves that made it difficult for oxygenated blood to circulate in the body. In addition, Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome left her heart beating so rapidly that it could not effectively pump blood to all her organs. Even with a breathing tube, the infant was not receiving enough oxygen.

“It was clear she needed complex heart surgery,” said Dr. Andras Bratincsak, Leila’s cardiologist who is now director of Kapiolani’s Pediatric Heart Center. “But first, we needed to stabilize her heart rate.”

Then, at 5 months old, she had open-heart surgery.

“It was the longest day of my life,” mom Kayley said.

The intricate surgery was successful. However, as Leila grew into an active toddler, her parents noticed that she would breathe heavily after running and playing. Sometimes, her lips would turn a bluish color. Her heart valve that had been repaired was not functioning well. At 3 years old, Leila had her second open-heart surgery.

“It was still very stressful, but our Kapiolani doctors, nurses and staff constantly asked if we needed anything, made sure we understood what was happening and reassured us all along the way,” Kayley said. “We have been to other hospitals, and it is not like that everywhere. Kapiolani is special.”

Leila is now a first grader who loves to dance, play basketball and spend time with her 2-year-old brother, Liam.

Leila’s 2024 Champion announcement included several surprises, including a trip to California for the family, where they will visit Disneyland and represent Kapiolani at a CMN Hospitals event. Kapiolani CMN partners are excited to welcome the Colomas to their stores.

“Our amazing CMN Champions are our inspirations,” said Wendel Dait, frontend coach at the Hilo Walmart. “They give us the motivation to give to help the children at Kapiolani. Seeing their smiles and seeing how we impact their lives are the reasons why we fundraise to help change the future.”

Video: Hawaii's 2024 Children's Miracle Network Hospitals Champion: Leila-Rose Coloma


Champion Pin Represents Leila’s Journey

CMN Hospitals partners also were the first ones to receive Leila’s Champion pin. The unique design represents her journey:

Illustration of a celebratory pin with rose, heart and rainbow.

  • The heart represents her heart conditions. The red and blue are the colors for congenital heart defects.
  • The hand represents everyone who has cared for her through her medical journey.
  • Pink is her favorite color. The pink rose represents love and kindness, which are qualities used to describe both Leila and the staff at Kapiolani.
  • The pin also includes Leila’s answer for her second-favorite color: “rainbow.”

Community Partnerships Support Programs at Kapiolani

As a not-for-profit medical center, Kapiolani relies on community support to further its mission of caring for Hawaii’s families and creating a healthier Hawaii. Kapiolani is committed to providing advanced quality care to all patients, regardless of their ability to pay.

In Hawaii, CMN Hospitals funds help support key programs and services at Kapiolani that helped Leila and many other keiki, including the Child Life program, critical care transport team and lifesaving equipment. Gifts made in Hawaii stay in Hawaii, with 100% of the funds going to help local keiki.

Local fundraising partners Costco Wholesale, Panda Express, Walmart and Sam’s Club, Ace Hardware, UHA Health Insurance, Marriott International and Marriott Vacations Worldwide, various Hawai‘i credit unions, KSSK with iHeartMedia, D. Suehiro Electric, Inc. and more helped raise more than $3 million for Kapiolani CMN last year. Kapiolani has had a partnership with CMN Hospitals for nearly 40 years.

Video: 2024 Kapiolani Children's Miracle Network Partner Event


Photo (top): 2024 Kapiolani Children’s Miracle Network Champion Leila-Rose Coloma and her doctor, Dr. Andras Bratincsak, Kapiolani cardiologist.

Photo (inset):  Leila-Rose Coloma with her parents, Kayley and Jared Coloma.

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Liz Chun Uyehara