Miracle Malu

Malu Punohu and the Norwegian Cruise Line Pride of America Crew

“Courage does not always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, ‘I will try again tomorrow.’”

– Mary Anne Radmacher

If you’ve ever embarked on the Norwegian Cruise Line Pride of America Hawaiian Islands Cruise, chances are you’ve encountered Malu Punohu. For 13 years, she served as Hawaii’s ambassador, warmly welcoming 2000 passengers each week. Malu was often the first introduction to Hawaii and its rich culture for many. Her positive impact touched the lives of thousands.
Now facing complex medical challenges, Malu’s journey has reached a critical point. As a single mother, she cherishes her days with her 6-year-old twins, who will be cared for by her brother David and her parents. If you have fond memories of Malu from your cruise and would like to support her children’s future, please visit, where you can learn more on the Miracle Malu page and consider making a donation. On behalf of Malu’s extensive circle of friends, we extend our heartfelt mahalo.

Listen to our KSSK Hawaii radio interview with Perry and the Posse and Gene Miyake!

Malu Punohu and her twin 6 year old children

Donate to the Miracle Malu

Kindly consider contributing to support Malu and her family. Malu has profoundly impacted numerous lives, and we aim to reciprocate that spirit of aloha.

Malu Punohu and her twin 6 year old children

Win a Cruise for Two* in Honor of Malu

To celebrate Malu’s incredible influence on Pride of America cruisers everywhere, we’re excited to offer you the opportunity to win a 7-night, 8-day Hawaiian Islands cruise for two aboard the Pride of America*! Join us in supporting Miracle Malu by donating on GoFundMe, though donations are not required for entry.

*See Sweepstakes page for full details.

Learn more about Malu Punohu

Malu Punohu and her twin 6 year old children

By Captain Ron Chrastina

Meet Malu Punohu. Born, raised and residing on the island of Oahu. Mother of 4-year old twins U’lu and La’i (their full names are both quite the Hawaiian mouthful). Sweet, genuine, strong, smart, capable, caring – the kind of person others would do well to emulate. A woman who spent well over a decade attending to the needs of others through her employment aboard cruise ships trading in Hawaiian waters. She began that career caring for children, then educating guests in the history and traditions of the Hawaiian people, and finally coordinating the entertainment of thousands each week as they sailed through the islands of Hawaii. This is an individual who has brought great joy to an enormous number of people.

However, no life is without its share of challenges, and this page wouldn’t exist if not for a significant one. A little historical perspective, before we get to the present day:

After beating back breast cancer in 2011 and then a second round of breast cancer and a uterine tumor in 2016, Malu was given a “less than zero percent chance” of being able to become pregnant. As may be apparent from the nature of her seagoing employment – caring for the needs of others – motherhood was something she longed for, and she refused to accept the dire prognosis of the “experts.” Her faith and diligent efforts resulted in the miraculous birth of her twins in 2017 – and after being told for the better part of 9 months that these children would likely never see the light of day, this was quite obviously the answer to her prayers. However…this was not destined to be the last test of her resolve.

Fast forward to August of 2021, when Malu experienced a sinus infection that subsequently became bronchitis and pneumonia – which nearly killed her. Following her recovery from that, she began to experience chronic sinus infections – or so she thought. Once specialists became involved, it became apparent that she actually is dealing with a tumor in her sinus cavity that is wrapped around the optic nerve of her left eye; that the tumor is pushing into her brain cavity through a hole in her skull; that the persistent runny nose associated with the “chronic sinus infections” is in fact a leak of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). All of this adds up to a condition so rare that there are apparently less than 80 recorded cases since the 1920’s.

This is a complex enough issue that the best oncologists in the state of Hawaii have enlisted the assistance of the professionals at the MD Anderson Center in Houston Texas to develop a plan of attack. There may or may not be a surgeon talented, confident or competent enough to attempt a procedure that would remove the tumor in its entirety. Without finding a way to gain access to the hole that is allowing the tumor to create pressure on her temporal and frontal lobes – and close that opening – she will continue to leak CSF and the tumor will have a greater likelihood of metastasizing into the brain tissue itself. If that hole cannot be closed, there is also a substantial risk of infection (such as bacterial meningitis) resulting from any type of chemotherapy. It’s a situation that most people on this planet will never experience, nor ever know exists as a possibility.

Thankfully, Malu’s family and friends are there to support her as she is attempting to cope with all of this. However, just caring for the day to day needs of Ulu and La’i as Malu conserves her strength for dealing with hospitals and insurance issues brings its own set of challenges for Ti-Ti and Papa (Grandma and Grandpa). All of this is compounded by the fact that she now must live in a “bubble” of sorts, since any sort of infection could have disastrous consequences. It’s all Malu can do to simply try to cope with the hand she’s been dealt and continue her battle for as long as her body and spirit allows.

This has been the fight of (and for) her life – and Malu has faced her challenges with ferocity and dignity at every step of the way.  However, her time on this earth with her ‘ohana is drawing to a close – and now Malu’s concern for her children’s future is greater than ever.  When the time comes that she is forced to leave Ulu and La’i behind, it would be of great comfort to her to feel confident that they will be able to receive the kind of education that she intended to provide for them.  This is now the focus of the Miracle Malu GoFundMe campaign.

I urge everyone reading this to strongly consider donating to this cause – and if you’re willing to take things a step further, please share this campaign far and wide. The greater our reach, the greater the potential impact.

Malu, Ulu and La’i deserve a lifetime together, free of these sorts of burdens. Let’s all do what we can to help ensure that these two precious children have every opportunity for the brightest possible future.