Update: TeeJay passes away in American Samoa
The young man who touched people’s hearts both here and in Hawaii has died, just one week after arriving in American Samoa and on the day that Hawaii schools designated as TeeJay Mamea Day.
Tiloi TeeJay Mamea, Jr. lost his battle with brain cancer and passed away in American Samoa Friday morning, May 11, 2012— but not before he realized one of the wishes on his ‘bucket list’— to meet his grandfather for the first time, here in American Samoa.
A year ago, TeeJay was living a normal childhood, participating in church activities, going to school at Waipahu Intermediate and playing at the park.
“He was a normal kid like any other kid,” his mother, Jocelyn Lemau Mamea told Faletuiga NEWS in Hawaii. “One day he stayed home from school and said his head was hurting …and he was vomiting. We took him to Kapiolani Children’s Medical Center because he had a headache. We were told he had GBM, Glioblastoma Multiforme…” a virulent form of brain cancer.
After TeeJay was diagnosed, he came up with a bucket list of things he would like to do: visiting Alaska, meeting Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, go to New York to eat pizza and visit his grandfather in American Samoa.
Make a Wish Foundation Hawaii made the American Samoa visit possible for him, and along with 12 family members the ‘TeeJay Team’ arrived in the early morning hours, Friday, May 4. During the week he was here he visited with family and experienced American Samoa first hand.
In Hawaii, Moanalua High School sophomore Whitney Kim organized TeeJay Mamea Day for Hawaii schools, asking students to bring a dollar to school to help Mamea fulfill the other wishes and dreams on his bucket list.
News of TeeJay’s passing swept the internet over the weekend with both Facebook and You Tube users posting memorials to the brave 14-year-old who turned down medical treatment.
He told his mom, “… we are children of God … leave the rest in God’s hands and walk by faith.”
“He said ‘if God is willing to take me home then I’m willing to go’,” his mother told reporter Tina Mata’afa- Elise.
Facebook postings say the family expects to take TeeJay's body back to Hawaii on tonight's Hawaiian Air flight.
If you would like to help TeeJay’s family, Hawaii media is reporting you can make a donation to the "Teejay Mamea Fund" at any Bank of Hawaii branch.
Tofa Mai Feleni — Samoa News extends condolences to the Mamea family and all who loved and admired TeeJay.