June 17, 2018

Cosplayers came to the Ronald McDonald House. There were a lot of Star Wars characters. It’s embarrassing, but I’ve never bothered to see Star Wars until I was in the hospital. Since I had time to waste, I watched episodes 1-6.

There was Darth Vader, Princess Leia, Obi-Wan Kenobi, a Stormtrooper, and others I forgot. My Mom loves Star Wars.

Miss California Latina was also here today. She gave me a signed copy of her headshot, which was cool.

July 3, 2018

Today is Kayano’s 15th birthday! Kayano is a patient at Stanford, who’s also my next door neighbor at Ronald McDonald. Kayano has kidney failure and he needs to be put on dialysis until he’s healthy enough to be put on the kidney transplant list. Kayano is having less and less energy, so he needs his kidney transplant soon.

We went to Redwood City Downtown to watch a movie. Kayano doesn’t eat food, but he still buys popcorn. He licks the popcorn. After we watched the movie, Kayano’s mom wanted to get birthday decorations at Safeway. As we drove along El Camino Real, Kayano’s mom told us she never knew that Stanford had so many attractions. She thought Stanford was in the middle of nowhere.

When we got back to the Ronald McDonald House we celebrated his birthday in the community dining room. Yesterday Kayano’s mom cooked brownies. We stuck 15 candles into the brownies and Kayano blew them out. Kayano’s mom also bought ice cream at Safeway, so she served the brownies with ice cream.

January 3, 2019

Kayano’s kidney came today!

If you remember, Kayano was my next door neighbor at the Ronald McDonald House (see July 3, 2018 for his birthday).

This is amazing. Kayano has been at the Ronald McDonald House since May, and he really deserves his kidney.

After his transplant Kayano can finally go home and go back to a normal life. That’s awesome.

Kayano’s life today will change forever. After his kidney transplant, he’ll experience sensations he has have never experienced before, and be able to do actions he’s never done before.

Waiting is the hardest part, but they got through it.

They got through it! Woohoo!

Kayano has a great life ahead of him. I can’t wait to see what’s in store for him.

April 30, 2019 – Cookbook Release

I released my cookbook today (and it was AMAZING).

Yesterday I was so excited that I stayed up late jamming to Hannah Montana.

Today at 2 PM I  left school and met Sammie, Kina, and Ray at the quad. Sammie drove us to my house, and at 2:30 there was a limo in front of my house.

I mean, a LIMO!

The driver drove us to the Ronald McDonald House at Palo Alto. My mom and grandma already left before us, so they were already there.

When we arrived we were greated by a photographer sent by Stanford. He took pictures of us, and my mom came outside.

Oh, and Kayano came! In case you don’t know, Kayano was my neighbor at the Ronald McDonald House. We spent the summer of 2018 together.

Kayano got his kidney transplant! It occurred on April 6, 2019. If you remember the joy of January 3, 2019 and the disappointment of January 4, 2019, Kayano’s kidney was long  overdue.

I’m so glad that I saw Kayano. It was nice touching up with old friends, especially seeing how well he was doing.

Another person that came was Jacob. I met Jacob at Camp Taylor, a camp just for patients with heart defects.

We grew up together, and he visited me at the hospital.

The inside of the Ronald McDonald House was incredible. Beth really outdid herself.

There was a table with a Make-A-Wish table cloth covering the surface, a custom poster with ‘Justin’s Just Recipes’ and my pictures on there, and the kitchen was fully ready for the presentation.

The cookbooks were beautiful. I know I saw them before on Shutterfly, but they looked better in person.

Are you ready for the most exciting part?

THE WATER BOTTLES HAD MY PICTURE ON IT!

I mean, you know you made it when the water bottles have your picture on it!

Along with that, the napkins had my name on it, and there were even bookmarks with my name on it!

WHAT?!?!

As we approached five, it became more and more hectic. Reporters and people showed up.  

It was AMAZING.

I met the CEO of Make-A-Wish, the CEO of the Ronald McDonald Houses, the board of directors of Make-A-Wish, the director of nutritional sciences at Lucile Packard, the director of marketing at Lucile Packard, and the East Bay representative of Donate Life.

I also met reporters from KTVU Fox 2 News, NBC Bay Area, KTSF Channel 26, Lucile Packard, The Palo Alto Weekly, and Make-A-Wish.

Get them contacts! Make those connections!

When it became five, I made my speech while mom and Victoria cooked the Pancit.

Click Here for my speech.

Afterwards, I signed a couple cookbooks and got interviewed by all the news stations.

It was special. Today was special.

A Lucile Packard representative asked if I was tired, but I told her no. Are you kidding?

I’ve never been the one who’s been noticed, or the person people would swoon over.

It was nice winning.

Bring on the reporters!

The driver drove Sammie, Alexa, Ray, and me back to my house in a black SUV (still pretty cool).

At home, Sammie sent Ray and Alexa back to their houses.

Reflecting back, I think today is more important than just a cookbook release. It’s a symbol of my heart transplant coming to an end.

I know that April 27, 2019 was technically the one year mark, but today feels more like the end of an era. I think today’s special event is really a sign to “move on”.  

Today was special. I’m so happy. Wow.