The Blas family, Brandy and Thomas were born and raised in Wahiawa, Oahu and were introduced through family when they were both 25 years old. Since then they have had four children, Navaeh (11), Thomas Jr. (8), Chenoa (3), and Kaylee (6 months old).
Their daughter Nevaeh is very outgoing and cares about others before herself. She’s very smart and loves to be helpful. She likes arts and crafts as well as drawing. She also enjoys dancing and playing the ukulele.
Going to the beach and going on rides around the island are just a couple of activities they enjoy as a family. Before the pandemic, they also had fun going to the zoo and the aquarium. They love to eat, have fun, and enjoy the island.
The Blas family received Nevaeh’s diagnosis when she was in the first grade. “Nevaeh used to phase out a bit and used to think it was nothing until one day she was doing homework with her dad that was supposed to be a normal math test. The math test was supposed to be one minute long and she took 10 minutes to do the test because she kept staring off.” Brandy and Thomas took her to her pediatrician and then to a neurologist. The neurologist diagnosed Nevaeh with Absence Epilepsy and gave her medication to treat it. “She’s been doing well but when she gets overworked it’s almost like a short circuit.”
Nevaeh is close with her siblings and likes to play games, jump on the trampoline, and runaround with her brother. She also likes to play video games, loves TikTok and always wants her siblings to play with her. Nevaeh and her sister Chenoa play with makeup, Play-Doh, and slime together. She also loves to hold her baby sister Kaylee and which helps her be calm.
Kaylee also has her own health struggles. “Kaylee is doing fine now if we keep on top of her medicine. Once she gets an infection, her kidneys will swell and will cause fevers etc. Would have to do a temporary surgery if she has to go into the emergency room for a third time. Kaylee’s condition has been hard for the Blas family because it has meant time spent in the hospital practically every month since her birth.
Their nephew Jonah Kalaikai, also a HUGS child, passed away which was also very hard on their family. However, the Blas family has found strength despite their children’s diagnoses and the family’s hardships. They don’t take anything for granted and their entire family is super close. They like to smile and joke around regardless of what Nevaeh and Kaylee are going through.
Throughout the COVID pandemic, the Blas family says they take it day by day and have grown closer since they spend more time in the house together. Thomas shares, “HUGS has been helpful since day one. Whatever assistance we need, you guys are there to talk to us and the phone calls are like therapy. We look forward to the gatherings for the families. The only kind of families we can actually bond with are those families that have gone through it. It has been nice because we have met a lot of people. My wife and I are close-knit and to ourselves but when we would go to those gatherings we would be out of our comfort zone which was a good thing. We were able to learn what the other families are going through and how they cope with it. HUGS has made a way to feel comfortable with other families. We want to tell other families that HUGS is always there to help out. No need to be shy or ashamed, just call and HUGS is always there.”