Big Island Woman Bouncing Back Following Brush With Death on Mauna Kea
March 9, 2021, 4:40 PM HST
* Updated March 9, 4:55 PM
A Big Island woman critically injured in a body boarding accident on the snowy slopes of Mauna Kea in late January is recovering slowly but surely.
Doctors at Queens’ Medical Center in Honolulu kept Pua Wong, 23, in a medically-induced coma for several days following the accident as she fought for her life. Her injuries ranged from severe head trauma to several broken bones that required multiple surgeries.
Family members over the last several days have posted updates on her progress to a GoFundMe account, which has raised more than $193,000 to help cover extensive medical bills.
Since regaining consciousness, Wong has begun extensive therapy sessions. According to the updates, she has been able to move over short distances with minimal or no assistance. The diet she is able to handle is expanding, and she is slowly regaining use of her right arm.
Wong, who graduated from Kamehameha Schools in 2015 and California Baptist University in 2019, returned to the Big Island as a professional educator employed by Laupahoehoe Community Public Charter School. She currently makes her home in Hilo and is in the process of studying for the MCATS. She has aspirations to pursue medical school and one day offer to others care similar to that which first helped save her life, and is now helping her to reclaim it.
Her boyfriend, Kawika Roman, told Big Island Now in February that Wong regularly made trips up the mauna, particularly after a fresh snowfall.
“Every year when it snows, whenever she’s back home on the Big Island, she’ll go up,” he said.
More than 2,000 donors have contributed to Wong’s medical fund over the last five weeks.