On January 12, 2016 an article on Damien Memorial 2003 graduate Partner Akiona appeared in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser. The article was part of the paper’s Good Fit series and its purpose was partly an announcement on the Fifth Annual Makahiki Challenge at Kualoa Ranch, where Akiona was scheduled to be a participant. However, the greater story was the inspirational account of how Akiona was able to get fit enough to participate.
Not too long ago, the article reported, Akiona weighed almost 400 pounds. He had developed a sedentary lifestyle and would eat up to three plate lunches in an 8-hour work shift. But a vision he had of himself entering a hospital and never leaving it gave Akiona a reason to get healthy, as did his frequent visits to the doctor’s office due to his weight.
The article reported that Akiona was active in sports at Damien but that he had no reason to work out as he got older. After his vision about entering the hospital, Akiona sought help from his longtime friend, Kepa Gaison, a personal trainer. Under Gaison’s guidance Akiona has lost a whopping 163 pounds by working out six days a week and eating a much healthier diet.
“For people who have never carried that kind of weight that is not just physical weight,” Akiona stated for the article. “That’s mental, too. That’s emotional weight. In having taken my life back, it’s almost as if I can now reintroduce myself.
Partner Akiona currently resides in Salt Lake and is employed as a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) worker and is enrolled in college part time. Akiona was also a group manager for the hip-hop act Angry Locals.
See the video on Partner Akiona below documenting his inner struggles and triumphs before completing his transformation.