Tuesday, February 5, 2002

Isle officer’s
battle with
leukemia ends

Alvin Nishimura died peacefully
and faced his death with dignity,
say all who knew him

By Rod Antone

Honolulu police Capt. Alvin Nishimura's two-year battle with leukemia has ended peacefully, after family members said he died from complications due to cancer. Nishimura was 52 when he died yesterday morning in the Queen's Medical Center.

"He really couldn't speak, so all I could do was give him some water ... but he said he loved me yesterday (Sunday)," said wife Cynthia Yip Nishimura, who was at his side at the hospital when Nishimura died sometime between 7 and 8 a.m.

"He got to see all his loved ones, and he went very peacefully. That's all that I had been praying for."

Cynthia Nishimura said it was last February when she and Alvin left for the M.D. Anderson Cancer Treatment Center in Texas. The Houston treatment facility is touted as one of the finest cancer centers in the country, and it was there, for 10 months, that the Nishimuras tried to get Alvin's blood count back to normal so they could attempt another bone marrow transplant.

"We got back in November after several rounds of treatments," said Cynthia. "We were trying to get him back into remission.

"It's been a long journey ... but we would just like to thank everyone, the community, for all their support. ... He wanted to tell them thank you."

Police officers who knew Nishimura said he faced death with dignity, even after some early setbacks during his treatment. After doctors diagnosed him with acute lymphoblastic leukemia in October 1999, two potential donors who had the perfect tissue type for him dropped out of the donor program.

Then in December 2000, after Nishimura had found another match and had actually received a bone marrow transplant, he found out that his leukemia had returned.

Even then, Nishimura had said that he remained hopeful.

"The Lord is with me, so I'm not afraid. I'm going to make it," he said during a Dec. 26, 2000, interview with the Star-Bulletin. "Whatever happens, happens, but I can't ever give up."

It is a promise that Cynthia says her husband kept.

"Doctors and nurses were always telling me how amazed they were at his strength," she said. "Even though he was suffering, he would ask people how they were doing, if there was anything he could do for them.

"Alvin faced each day with a lot of faith. He trusted God and so did I that he would come through for us, and he did in so many ways."

According to information provided by Nishimura's family, he joined the Police Department in April 1972, and since then worked in a variety of assignments, including patrol officer, burglary-theft and internal affairs. Nishimura's last assignment was as captain of the Criminal Investigation Unit.

Nishimura also is survived by his two children -- a son, 23, and a daughter, 17 -- and his parents, brother and sisters.

Funeral services are pending.

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