Hawai‘i Island Teen Standard Bearer in PGA Event

October 5, 2019, 9:38 AM HST (Updated October 5, 2019, 11:53 PM)
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Hawai‘i Island teen, Hekili Robello, 14, is representing Shriners Hospital for Children Honolulu in the 37th Annual Shriners Hospitals for Children Open.

Each year, 22 patients are chosen to represent the health care system during the tournament. Among this year’s patient ambassadors is Hekili of Hilo.

The patients interact with pro golfers and other patients during a rare inside experience at the PGA Tour event, while serving as a standard bearer in the tournament.

Standard bearers carry the scores of professional golfers as they compete in the tournament.

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“Hekili feels very grateful for this opportunity to meet other patients around the US and meet PGA professionals, said Hekili’s father Jason Robello. “Today, he and Ella from the Northern California Shriners will be standard bearers for Phil Mickleson and Gary Woodland.”

Heikili Robello representing Shriners Hospital for Children Honolulu in the 37th Annual Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in Las Vegas, Oct. 4, 2019. Source photo.

Hekili went to the Shriners Hospitals for Children Honolulu in 2010, after recovering from a severe accident that affected his right foot.

At 4 years old, Hekili was riding on a train at a birthday party when his shoelace got caught and his foot dragged 100 feet before the train was stopped. His right foot suffered from a severe friction burn during the accident.

In the beginning, his parents and doctors were not sure if Hekili would be able to walk on his foot again, but today he is standing tall.

Hekili received orthopedic care, skin grafts, and custom orthotics, which have helped him walk, run and participate in sports.

Hekili’s parents are grateful for the specialized care he received, which has helped him live a full and active life.

“Shriners has been a lifesaver for us with Hekili’s post-care for his foot injury. At the young age of 5, he’s been receiving care with Shriners Hospital, said Hekili’s mother Leilani Smith. “We are truly grateful and Hekili is honored to represent his home Hawai‘i.

Heikili Robello representing Shriners Hospital for Children Honolulu in the 37th Annual Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in Las Vegas, Oct. 4, 2019. Source photo.

Hekili has a younger brother, Kekama, 12, and a younger sister, 11-year-old Maya.

Hekili loves surfing and enjoys playing baseball.

Shriners Hospitals for Children Open is an official PGA event that runs now through Oct. 6, at TPC Summerlin, Las Vegas, Nevada with a purse of $7 million in prize money.

The event is conducted by the Shriners Hospitals for Children to benefit Shriners Hospitals for Children.

The Shriners Hospitals for Children Open is the fourth event of the PGA TOUR’s FedExCup season.

The field is 144 PGA Tour professionals. Bryson DeChambeau is the defending champion.

The remaining two days of the tournament can be seen on the Golf Channel or online at www.pgatour.com

Heikili Robello of Hilo is serving as a patient ambassador for Shriners Hospital for Children Honolulu in the 37th Annual Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in Las Vegas, Oct. 4, 2019. Source photo.

To date, Shriners has treated over 1.4 million children; has 97 years in specialized care; and 22 locations and outreach.

Learn more about how Shriners Hospitals for Children is changing lives every day at https://www.shrinershospitalsforchildren.org/shc.

For more information on Shriners Hospitals for Children Open, visit https://shrinershospitalsopen.com/.

Crystal Richard
Crystal Richard moved to East Hawai’i in 2005 to attend UH Hilo. While earning her bachelor’s degree in English and a certificate to teach English as a second language, Crystal served as the editor-in-chief of “Hohonu,” UH Hilo’s academic journal, and as assistant editor-in-chief at “KeKalahea,” UH Hilo’s student newspaper. From a young age, Crystal fell in love with the written word and has always dreamed of a career in journalism. She has worked as a Big Island Now freelance reporter since September 2016. She is a wellness and health advocate who enjoys swimming, gardening, reading and spending time with her animals and loved ones.
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