Fundraiser helps family pay medical bills


Richelle “Cissy” Romero’s favorite quotation was “Live life to the fullest.”

The 52-year-old Kona homemaker did so daily with “tremendous spirit and poise.” She never let her illness define her or stop her from helping the causes and people dear to her heart, said Tiana Steinberg, the owner of Tiana’s Avon & Wings and founder of all-volunteer nonprofit CommunityCares.

“Cissy was special in every way,” Steinberg said. “She was the best wife, mom, grandmother and friend. She was sweet, vivacious and so giving. She was always so willing to help others, including me when I was down.”

Romero lost her battle to cancer on Dec. 21, and plans are in place to hold a fundraiser for her family, in hopes of assisting them with the extreme costs of her medical bills left behind. The goal is raise $50,000 at the sixth annual CommunityCares event, happening from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Jan. 19 at the Kona International Market, Steinberg said. Most of the proceeds will go to the family and a small portion will be used to pay event expenses, she added.

The “fun” event will provide hair cuts, massages, caricature drawings, photo booths, henna body art, wigs, makeup and manicures, all with suggested donations of up to $20. Live entertainment, food, a dunk tank and a silent auction will also be present. Items for the silent auction are still needed, Steinberg said.

Raising money toward an important cause every year is just one part of Community Cares’ mission. Another key component of the group is raising awareness about the ongoing efforts and programs that help the homeless, fight domestic abuse and brighten the lives of cancer patients, survivors and their loved ones. At the various information booths, attendees will have the opportunity to talk story with representatives from Child and Family Service’s Domestic Abuse Shelter, HOPE Services Hawaii, Kona Community Hospital’s Cancer Care Program, and Dr. Clif Arrington, who does chelation therapy.

“I have always believed that knowledge is key, and the more knowledge we have, the more we are able to help those in our community who are in need,” Steinberg said. “Also, nothing is ever promised to us, and you never know how you’ll later use the information you gain during this event. If you care, get involved, contribute in any way you can or simply just pass that knowledge along. This is your community, and the community cares.”

For instance, Steinberg, a cancer survivor, has dedicated her life and business to helping fellow survivors, as well as those undergoing treatment for life-threatening diseases. She offers discounted wigs and hairpieces to help those people overcome the appearance-related side effects of their treatments.

When Steinberg learned people in domestic abuse situations often leave their homes with little more than the clothes they are wearing, she began supplying grooming and beauty products to local shelters. She also extended the service by donating similar products to the Big Island’s transient population. CommunityCares regularly makes donations to the homeless and domestic abuse shelters. During the Jan. 19 event, Steinberg plans to collect gently used or new bed linens, blankets, towels and clothing, as well as unopened canned or nonperishable food for the shelters.

For more information or to get involved with CommunityCares, call Steinberg at 326-2866 or 896-6310. Checks made out to CommunityCares can also be mailed to 74-5599 Luhia St., Suite D4, Kailua-Kona, HI 96740.