In the quiet corners of Colorado, where the mountains whispered tales of resilience, Mai’s story unfolded like a melody written by the angels themselves.
In the 1990s, Mai and her brother found themselves navigating a world where their parents carried the weight of HIV. A move from the warm embrace of Hawaii to the rugged landscapes of Colorado brought uncertainty, but it also paved the way for an extraordinary journey.
Angels Unaware became their sanctuary, a haven of support and encouragement for families like Mai’s. It was within the walls of Camp Ray-Ray, now in its 28th year, that Mai discovered a family beyond blood. She met others touched by the same challenges, and among them was Arta Bank’s family.
Mai called the Bank’s children and other campers’ “cousins” a term borrowed from Hawaiian tradition where friends were family. Camp days became a shared tapestry of laughter, tears, and the forging of bonds that transcended circumstance.
As the years danced by, Mai, Arta, and their families embarked on separate journeys. Yet, the threads of connection woven during camp remained unbroken. They stayed in touch, like a constellation of stars formed in the Colorado night sky of shared memories.
Last year, Mai returned to the place that witnessed her growth, not just as an individual but as part of an extended family. Against the backdrop of Colorado’s breathtaking beauty, she renewed her wedding vows. Arta’s children, once camp companions, stood as attendants in this celebration of love and resilience.
The magic of Angels Unaware and Camp Ray-Ray revealed itself in the unconventional unending bonds formed in the acceptance of unique family make-ups, and in the ordinary yet extraordinary gifts of understanding and compassion. At future camps, Mai’s journey will echo through the mountains, whispering tales of hope to those who need it most.
In the legacy of Angels Unaware, Mai’s story becomes a testament to the enduring power of love, connection, and the extraordinary journey that blossoms from the seeds of compassion planted in the soil of adversity.