Baby receives special birthday gift from students

CopperRose Keona Harai is a special baby with a special name. Diagnosed with a rare genetic disorder called Edwards syndrome, CopperRose turned one year old a few weeks ago. Her birthday was a momentous occasion because 90 percent of babies like her don’t live past 12 months.

“We spent well over the first four-and-a-half months of her life in the hospital,” said her mother Bridget Wetzler. “They didn’t know what was wrong with her. They just knew some of her heart had issues, her lungs had issues, so they were trying to put it together. With her condition, there’s well over 20 different things she could have and no two children are alike.”

To celebrate his daughter’s first birthday along with Valentine’s Day, CopperRose’s dad, John Harai, went to Honolulu Community College to buy a special copper rose for his CopperRose.

When students and faculty heard about his baby, they decided to do something special. One of the teachers asked her students to buy or make something for the baby centered around roses.

Students in the fashion technology department collected and made by hand rose-themed gifts and put them all into a gift basket.

CopperRose got her name because her mother is a fan of The Fox and the Hound and Rose is a family name. Wetzler is in the Army and Harai is a stay-at-home father and master’s student. They live in Kaneohe.

The students had never met the family before.

“(We’re) really blessed that people would just hear something like that and they are moved and want to do something,” Harai said.

“It confirms there’s still compassion in people,” Wetzler said. “Just because she is different doesn’t mean she shouldn’t be here.”

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