CINDY ELLEN RUSSELL / CRUSSELL@STARBULLETIN.COM
More than a year after Christian Mahuna, foreground, was run over by a hit-and-run driver, his mother, Elena Young, is struggling to pay his medical bills. The O Lounge will host a fundraiser Sunday for the family.
Hit-and-run has teen’s family in fiscal straits
The O Lounge will hold an event to help Christian Mahuna pay his medical expenses
More than a year after her son was run over by a hit-and-run driver, Ellena Young is still trying to pay off thousands in medical bills.
HOW TO HELP
A fundraiser for Christian Mahuna will be held Sunday at the O Lounge, 1349 Kapiolani Blvd. The fundraiser is from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., and tickets - which include two drinks, pupus and live entertainment - cost $25.
Christian Mahuna, 13, underwent surgery to place steel rods in both legs that run from his knees to his ankles. He also needed a reclining bed, wheelchair and walker, all of which is more than what Young, a single mother of two, can afford.
"My auto insurance was used to help and try and lessen the blow on me, but that's pretty much been exhausted," Young said. "It's ongoing for him because he still has routine follow-ups he needs to go to."
Young's plight caught the attention of Liz Watanabe, the owner of the O Lounge. The lounge will be holding a fundraiser this Sunday to help Young with medical costs associated with Christian's recovery.
"This could have happened to any of us, and as a mom, I feel for what Ellena is going through," Watanabe said. "We can't undo this terrible tragedy, but each of us can help them get through this difficult time."
At about 7:30 a.m. on Feb. 2 last year, Christian was sitting at a bus stop at the corner of Roosevelt and Lexington avenues when a white Mustang ran over his legs, causing compound fractures.
Christian's memory of the vehicle has become clearer over time. He remembers it having a low profile with a large spoiler in the back and an air scoop in the front, with dark tinted windows. The driver has never been caught.
Christian is able to walk on his own now, slowly but surely, his mother said. He returned to Kapolei Middle School in January.
"He made a promise to himself he was going to do it on his own two feet," Young said. "It's been a struggle but he's a good soldier."
Young was away from her son for five minutes before the accident happened. She now drops her son off at school every morning.
Young said she does not have a target fundraising goal because she does not want to appear as only needing money. She said she hopes to highlight driving safety, especially in light of recent hit-and-run cases on Oahu.
"I want people to be aware that being a hard-working parent and trying to make ends meet is difficult," Young said. "All it takes is just one accident that will just change everything. My son and I are just trying to rebound."