West Maui has lost its little princess. Olivia Bianco passed away early on Wednesday morning, June 20.
Olivia was diagnosed with Medduloblastoma, a form of brain cancer, in late February 2011 and courageously fought it for 16 months. Through it all, she was happy, in good spirits, and never complained about her circumstances.
Olivia attended Children of the Rainbow Preschool, then King Kamehameha III Elementary School. She was a Lahaina Chiefs cheerleader on the Tiny Mite squad.
Olivia is survived by her father, Alex; her mother, Momoko; sister Julia, 12; brother A.J., 9; and her loyal and loving puppy, one-year-old Snowball.
"Even though her life was cut short, Olivia touched hundreds, if not thousands, of people all over the world. Through an amazing circuit of friends, community and social networking, people around the world have been praying unceasingly for her. We know that God has answered our prayers, and we know that she is now in Heaven dancing, running, singing and playing with friends who have gone ahead of her," noted family friend Kay Ryan.
After Olivia's original diagnosis, the family had to move to Santa Clara, California, for four months for treatment. They made some great friends there, but eventually they were sent home to Maui for Home Hospice. Before returning to Maui, a friend helped to arrange for Olivia to attend a Justin Bieber concert.
Once back in Maui, Olivia was showing signs of improvement. She learned to talk again, swallow and was able to use her arms and legs. Her parents took Olivia to Houston to seek additional treatment that seemed to help for awhile. In Houston, the family made some amazing friends and met other children with similar forms of brain cancer.
According to the family, "In California and Maui, she was the only one we knew with brain cancer. In Houston, we found others who were just like us."
Back in Maui again, Olivia was able to go to the beach, float in the ocean on a mat, get back in the classroom (after class), hang out with her "BFF" Jaiyah and go on some shopping sprees.
In February of this year, Olivia had another MRI that showed that the cancer had spread. No further treatment would help. So, Alex and Momoko moved forward with plans to enjoy the time given as long as it lasted.
Olivia was granted a Make-A-Wish trip to the Disney Aulani Resort in Oahu, where she was given the "Royal Treatment." The Hawaii Pacific University cheer squad came out to cheer for Olivia, and she got to meet and pray with Mickey, Minnie and Goofy.
They were able to celebrate Olivia's seventh birthday with family and friends. They enjoyed an amazing weekend stay at the Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa. Olivia was also named Honorary Prom Queen at Lahainaluna High School's Junior Prom.
"Alex and Momoko would like to thank everyone for their incredible and never-ending support during this time. Without this support, we wouldn't have been able to spend this special time with our daughter. We were able to create some special memories we will never forget," the family noted.
"We are humbled at the generosity of the community and strangers we have never met."
A celebration of Olivia's life will be held at her favorite place, beach front of Lahaina Jodo Mission, on Saturday, June 30, at 1 p.m. Bring your beach chairs, mats, surfboards, boogie boards and your own food and beverages and spend the day with the family celebrating the life of Princess Olivia Bianco.
In lieu of flowers, please send any donations to Friends of Olivia Bianco, P.O. Box 12661, Lahaina, HI 96761.