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Former transplant patient winds up with a big heart


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POSTED: Saturday, December 19, 2009

Happy holidays, everyone. Here's a story with plenty of heart for the gift-giving season: Castle High grad Glenn Matsuki, 59, will mark his 14th heart transplant anniversary by riding on the Donate Life Rose Parade float on New Year's morning.

The float honors organ donors and the gift of life. Glenn was a successful businessman in the Los Angeles corporate flower sales market in 1995 when he was hit by a viral flu he could not shake. The virus damaged his heart, and he underwent a heart transplant at Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute. The experience changed Glenn's life. He sold his businesses and joined Cedars-Sinai as a volunteer in the Transplantation Department. He was soon hired as a full-time transplant administrator. In 2006 he joined One Legacy, the nonprofit, federally designated transplant donor network that services 18 million people in seven Southern California counties. He assists teams with transplants at hospitals in the Long Beach area. “;Transplantation is my passion and my mission,”; Glenn said. “;I am here only because another family blessed me by donating the heart of someone they loved”; …

; Tonga's Prime Minister Feleti Sevele stayed overnight at the Kahala Hotel recently en route to Barbados for a conference. He didn't know that his first cousin Lata Vanisi has worked at the hotel as a housekeeper since 1990. So when the official arrived at the hotel, there was Lata, in traditional Tongan attire, out front to meet him with members of her family. They stayed up until the wee hours of the morning catching up in the lobby. The next day they walked the hotel's grounds and also took in Kahala Mall …

Lee Mansfield and Naomi Kuwaye were crowned Mr. and Ms. Fitness at Clark Hatch Fitness Center's annual awards party last week. Other award winners are Terry and Sharyn Klafehn for Silver Biceps Fitness; Harry Kanehailua and Serene Chew, most improved; Joe Gronwald and Aries Jackson, Mr. and Ms. Aerobics; and Lance Parker and Nancy Timko, Mr. and Ms. Strength. The Sauna Award went to Bob Peterson — again. Ho, ho, ho … Campbell Estate Trustee Dave Heenan is a longtime Clark Hatch member. He didn't win any fitness awards this year, but he deserves a pat on the back for writing his seventh book, “;Bright Triumphs from Dark Hours.”; Dave has been teaching global strategy to Georgetown MBAs in Washington for about seven weeks. He and wife Nery will leave D.C. for L.A. on Tuesday. They will spend Christmas with Dave's son and daughter-in-law, Mark and Jennifer Heenan, and their children. Book signings for “;Bright Triumphs”; are scheduled in January at Oahu bookstores. The book is about 10 people who have overcome deep adversity in their personal or professional lives by applying winning strategies that carried them out of near defeat into success …

Emme Tomimbang's Christmas show will repeat on KHON today at 4 p.m. and on Christmas Day at 3 p.m. Emme has a strong lineup of Willie K, Na Leo, Jimmy Borges, Pauline Wilson and John Cruz. Women's prison inmates will dance hula to the singing of the Makaha Sons. Merry Christmas …

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Ben Wood, who sold the Star-Bulletin on Honolulu streets in World War II, writes of people, places and things Saturdays. E-mail him at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).