We hear a lot of stories about college football stars. How they are thugs, how they party too much, how they are always doing questionable things; so sometimes it’s nice to hear a positive story about them. They are just college students, after all.
Keoni Bush-Loo was a linebacker at the University of Arizona in 2012. As a freshman, he was experiencing college for the first time, and playing football at the university level. He had everything going for him – his high school sweetheart, Brianna Summers, followed him and the two were talking about getting married, he was loving every second of college football, and he was surrounded by football players and coaches that loved and supported him. But that was not the case for his foster-care siblings back at home. Though he was originally from Hawaii, his adoptive family had followed him to Arizona when he went to college.
In 2014, Keoni was having the time of his life at college. He and Brianna had gotten married, he was growing to be a successful linebacker, and he had tons of friends. That’s when he got the devastating news. His siblings, all five of them, were being abused by their foster parent. Keoni knew that he needed to step in, and step in fast. That’s when he made the decision that still amazes people to this day. Keoni reported the abuse and got the foster parent arrested. Then he and Brianna stepped up, found family members of three of the siblings that were willing to adopt them (thanks to the Casey Family Programs), and then adopted the other two. They now have two boys to call their own.
That’s when they decided they would need a little more help, and moved back to Hawaii, so that family could help with the boys. After moving home, Keoni decided to change his name to his birth name, Makani Kema-Kaleiwahea. So literally everything about him changed very quickly. But Makani is still playing football – just now, as a Rainbow Warrior at the University of Hawaii.
Two years later in 2016, Keoni came back to Arizona, playing on the opposite side of the field. But he got dressed in the same locker room that he had gotten dressed in while playing at Arizona, thanks to some modifications made to the arena, giving the old locker rooms to the opposing team. He played against some of the players he had once played with, with the knowledge that they were still brothers and still friends. Those at Arizona knew what he was struggling with, and he left the university on good terms. Those “linebacker room” buddies were still his friends. It was a bittersweet reunion.
What an awesome story of this man’s dedication to his siblings – now his sons.
You have to watch this video to appreciate his story of love and sacrifice
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Credit: Associated Press