Maui Discussion

LETTER: Update on Survivor Peggy Kan Hai

October 25, 2012, 2:15 PM HST
* Updated October 28, 10:05 AM
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By Michelle Baer


Peggy Kan Hai. Courtesy photo.

Six months ago a beautiful story about Peggy Kan Hai was shared here in Maui Now, along with the Maui News.

It was a story about a beautiful, inspirational, and courageous woman. It was a story of the difference a person can make in the lives of others. It was a story of someone who doesn’t let the difficulties that life sometimes throws our way take from her life. A story that touched many, and inspired many.

Who is Peggy Kan Hai? She is a woman, a mother, a wife, a daughter and a friend to so many throughout the world. She is an educator, a therapist, a life coach, and a notary public. She is a warrior in more ways than one. She is someone worth knowing, and someone who makes this world a better place to be in.


This summer, people came together in the Maui community, in surrounding areas, and across the world through the help of friends to help offer care and support to this incredible woman, who’d been through so much. She had the previous year undergone a partial foot amputation. She contracted a deadly bacteria infection at the time of her surgery and recovery in the hospital as well. This almost ended her life.


So many people were so happy to see Peggy getting around again, and being the vibrant, amazingly happy, and beautiful person she is. There was a beautiful Luncheon held at the Lilikoi Grill in Haiku. Friends and family and members of her incredible community all came out to show their support and kindness. So many of us watched Peggy go through this rough part of her journey and were amazed at how well she does so. She had fought to recover for 6 years now from the horrific accident that almost ended her life, which was caused by a young man, ending his life. Her heart forever saddened by his loss and the loss felt forever by his family.

Peggy beat the odds so many times throughout her life. She has the will and determination to do far more than overcome difficult circumstances. She often says she chooses to thrive, not merely survive. She inspires so many of us every day through her words of wisdom shared on Facebook. Through her involvement in the community helping our youth, and people with mental health issues. Through years of working as a therapist, and a life coach. Through the kind of human being she chooses to be, with a spirit unlike any other I have ever known.

Peggy, now a little over a year since amputation half of her foot, is now faced with another step. A major step. Things haven’t went as so many of us had hoped and prayed for, for Peggy. She is now having to amputate her leg from the knee down. The evening of her accident, she was told immediately be paramedics, as well as the emergency room doctors that she would need to be flown in the emergency flight to Oahu at that time to have her leg amputated. There was nothing left that could be salvaged. She accepted this fate, and thanked God that she was alive. And knew that in no time she would recover from this along with all the other injuries sustained in the accident. As she was being prepped for the flight, another doctor came into the hospital, and felt he could perform the surgery, and would know more once in surgery if the leg could actually be saved.


Peggy awoke from surgery not knowing whether she would have the leg or not. When she saw it there, she figured it meant it was salvageable. The doctor then advised her he was able to save it, but that she likely would never have use of it again. She had at best a 1% chance of walking, is later what the other specialists consulted had said. Peggy believed if God had made the choice to guide this doctor to save the limb, then it was for a purpose, and certainly not one that meant a life in a wheelchair. She was determined to find a way to make it work, and to beat the odds, as she had so often in her life prior.

Well, Peggy did just that. She pushed through the pain, the limits, and walked again. She underwent several more surgeries and attempts for them to adjust the bones, and heal the ones that were not healing. All the while Peggy was told, there was no medical explanation for how she was walking, that was doing so on sheer will. The doctors were amazed. Peggy’s family and friends were thrilled. And once again, she made what seemed impossible, be possible.


Peggy and son. Courtesy photo.

But as time continued on, no one ever addressed the risks of the bones never healing. They eventually died. Once bones die, necrosis often sets in. This can very quickly end a person’s life. And here we are back at her amputating half of her foot and such last year. Then almost dying from the c diff she contracted while in the hospital undergoing surgery and recovery. And now 13 months after going through all of that, things have taken another rough turn. Here she is full circle back where she was the night of the accident. Having to have her leg amputated. But now after 6 years of sever pain on a daily basis, half a dozen surgeries, and so much financial hardships because of such.

Peggy is having the below knee amputation this week. Her family is heart broken, but also full of hope for a better outcome, a brighter future and a true and wonderful quality of life for Peggy after this is done. Peggy consulted 15 doctors throughout the US to confirm the opinions of the doctors in Hawaii. All agreed that a BKA was her only option. Although they didn’t agree with the techniques that should be used, and the importance of proper pain management before, during and after surgery to avoid Peggy have a life of pain, an a limb hurting, that will no longer be there. Studies have shown that were done over the years, that the longer someone is in pain, the more likely they are to have phantom pain after the limb is removed. Can you imagine she looses her leg and foot, and then it still hurts all the time? I can’t even comprehend that. And I am so grateful she has found doctors who want truly to help and to give her the best possible life going forward.

Peggy will do more than overcome this. For those of us blessed to know her, we know that much. But anyone who knows her as well has to be truly saddened by this, as I am. This is a woman who loves everyone and this entire world. This is a woman who would do anything for anyone at anytime. It’s so hard to see her have to now lose her leg, and go through another trauma of this nature. They say what doesn’t kill you, only makes you stronger. And I think by now, Peggy is truly  superhuman. I know right now, the last thing Peggy wants is for me or anyone to feel badly, or upset over what has happened. Peggy wants nothing but positive and for every one to see her active, and fully living life as it’s meant to be lived. So that is what I am going to picture, and that is what I will pray for.

I ask you all, every single person who is reading this story to please send prayers. And to simply take a page from Peggy’s book, and fully live your life, and cherish every one you hold dear. Peggy taught me a long time ago how to not take life or people for granted. My life has been better because of it ever since. My life is better because of her. This is who she is and how she lives, and what she does for so many people all over the world.

Lets come together and send prayers, and healing energy to a woman who will embrace it, and empower herself with it. May she awaken from this surgery, free of pain, free of a diseased and severely injured limb, and positive for the future that awaits her. May we all find a way to be there for her, as she has so often been there for us. And may we thank God that she will be able to continue to be there for this world and every one in it.

For any other amputees and family members or friends of such who are interested, Peggy will be starting a support group for amputees in Maui once she has healed from this surgery. She found there aren’t any support groups on Maui, and also nothing for Hawaii online specifically either. This is an experience that she can make the most of in helping others in any way she can. Anyone wanting to help her with the support group, be a part of it, or have ideas on locations best for people throughout the island, please email or write her, or contact her via her website.

For more information on the support group, to send your prayers, or to send get well wishes to Peggy directly, please mail to:

Peggy Kan Hai

163 Hiwalani Loop

Makawao, HI 96768

Or you can email her at: [email protected]

God Bless you all.

To submit a letter, or raise an important Maui issue that you feel we should investigate, send an email to [email protected]. Attach any relevant images to the email.

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