Uncle Benny Fighting On With Friends’ Help

Uncle Benny Kai

Uncle Benny Kai keeps up his reputation as ambassador of aloha, even while in the cancer ward at The Queen’s Medical Center. Here, he performs for members of the Oliveros and Pu’u ohana. A benefit concert to help with his medical bills – featuring the man himself – is planned for 9 am. to noon May 31 in his home territory at Polynesian Cultural Center. Photo from Cody Mafatu.

A fundraising concert is planned for Saturday to help keep the aloha going for Uncle Benny Kai, the longtime ambassador of aloha at Polynesian Cultural Center and kupuna at Kahuku Elementary School.

The event runs from 9 a.m. to noon at PCC, featuring a silent auction and entertainment by Te Hamata, the Tonga Sisters, Weldon Kekauoha, Miss Aloha Hula 2014 and guest of honor, Benny Kai, father of six and grandfather of nine.

For much of the past three years, the Kahuku man has been in and out of hospitals for chemo treatments, a misdiagnosis, and finally the verdict: lymphoma cancer. The Kai family is raising money for its share of a critical stem cell transplant, plus travel to Arizona and related medical bills, which may amount to $50,000.

Donations can be made at the door, or via Friends of Uncle Benny Kai at Bank of Hawaii (98551476) or Wells Fargo (9037960458).

“Dad has always been my best friend, my role model, my superman,” said Olympic soccer gold medalist Natasha Kai, “but most of all, he’s my daddy.”

In recent times, the elder Kai has serenaded the Queen’s hospital staff and fellow cancer patients with his ukulele and joyful voice, drawing from his three decades of emceeing the PCC luau and playing host at its Hawaiian Village. Recalling an impromptu concert in April at Queen’s Tower 7 Ewa, Kai said via Facebook: “Some visiting family members came to my room just to sit, listen and enjoy. I was getting hugs and kisses from people I didn’t even know. A little 5-year-old Hawaiian girl came in and just started to dance the hula … The spirit of the gospel, and the spirit of Aloha is so powerful!”

For more information, call 636-7101 or visit