Mike and Kim Perales know how to name their kids. And here’s proof.
They named the older of their two sons Makai, Hawaiian meaning “toward the sea.”
Sure enough, Makai Perales loves the water and competes as a swimmer on his school team. “He loves the water and anything to do with it,” Sgt. Perales, partner of an HPD K9 officer, Leo, avowed.
Now since both sons of Mike and Kim were conceived in Hawaii, the couple stuck with Hawaiian names when second son Nakoa was born.
Nakoa demonstrated in his heart, soul and the rest of his body that he lives up to the meaning of the name his parents chose for him.
Nakoa means warrior. In this young man’s case: CANCER WARRIOR.
On June 7, 2019, the Perales family learned Nakoa was suffering from leukemia.
The war began.
“We knew it was going to be a long battle,” Perales said. “We told him, ‘This is what you need to do to be cured.’ And he was amazing!”
Perales told his son that the treatments were going to be rough on his body, that he had to do everything the doctor said. “We would be in it for the time it took to get him well,” Perales said.
Assist the Officer put on a fundraiser for Nakoa and the family to pay the expenses necessary to pay for this war. He also was the subject of numerous prayers.
His dad tells us what happened.
“On June 7, 2022 – three years to the day! – my son was declared cancer free,” Perales explained.
“We wanted to ring the bell as soon as we could but the doctor who cured him was out of town,” the dad said. “We were not about to ring the bell without him.”
And so, one week later, Dr. Eric Schafer – “He’s a blessing, I guarantee you that,” Perales said – and the nurses who were the warrior’s caregivers over the three years of countless blood tests and cancer treatments secured the bell and met with the Perales family.
The dad laughed when he said Nakoa used so much strength ringing that bell that “he actually broke it.”
“The Warrior” prevailed! And how! He is cancer-free, like all the others who rang that bell and will continue ringing it until it gets fixed or replaced.
“We named him Nakoa,” Perales said. “I had no idea why. But now I do. Nakoa is a warrior! And he was a warrior! He was a warrior the whole time!”
The Warrior turns 12 in August.
The story brings up the one about another warrior in an HPD family. Erin Cones, wife of Lt. Kyle Cones, has a lot in common with Kim Perales – she had a young son who faced a difficult fight with cancer.
HPOU’s Shannon Barker organized an ATO barbecue benefit for Crew Cones in September 2015 after he was diagnosed with leukemia.
Erin Cones recalls, “Kim and I connected quickly after learning about her son, Koa. While it wasn’t what I wished we had in common, I was glad to be a sounding board for whenever she needed me.”
“We know firsthand how supportive our HPD family was to us during Crew’s treatment and I wasn’t about to let their family down. We are so proud of Koa and thankful to hear he rang (and broke) that bell!”
“Crew is doing great since ringing the bell on Veteran’s Day in 2018. He is headed into the fourth grade and also his fourth year of being cancer free.”
Let’s keep hearing those bells ring by HPD families!