Tavin Hashimoto, 10, stood ‘tuff’ in the face of cancer

Kula boy dies Tuesday after a two-year battle with leukemia

Photo courtesy of Davin Hashimoto Tavin Hashimoto, 10, died Tuesday night after a two-year battle with acute myeloid leukemia. Tavin was diagnosed on March 17, 2017, after doctors discovered his low blood cell count. Tavin’s parents said they want him to be remembered for how much he “glowed,” and for always spreading joy throughout their family, church and community.

Although taken too soon, Tavin Hashimoto’s lively spirit and infectious smile will last a lifetime.

Tammi-Lyn Hashimoto, Tavin’s mother, wants her son to be remembered for his selflessness, his ability to unify their family and community, and for how much he “glowed.”

Around 11 p.m. Tuesday at Hospice Maui, 10-year-old Tavin lost a fight to cancer, according to a Facebook post by his father, Davin Hashimoto.

“We wish that he was still here, but we know that he’s with the Lord and completely healed with no pain or cancer,” Davin Hashimoto said in the post. “We will miss him every single day. We are so proud to call him our son.”

Tavin was diagnosed at 8 years old with acute myeloid leukemia on March 17, 2017, after doctors found that he had an extremely low white blood cell count. For two years, he fought through chemotherapy treatments, as well as blood and bone marrow tests.

Photo courtesy of Davin Hashimoto

Last month, the cancer settled in Tavin’s mouth and jaw.

“He never complained, he always did what he needed to do,” Davin Hashimoto said via phone Wednesday. “No matter how hard the treatments were, he never said ‘no.’ Whatever he needed to do, he would do it. He was truly a tough, tough, tough boy.”

Due to his condition, Tavin could not play contact sports or participate in physically demanding activities, but that didn’t stop him from being an adventurous little kid, his father said.

During Tavin’s time out of the hospital, Davin Hashimoto reminisced over how his son loved to go to the driving range and hit golf balls with his uncle, Arthur Criste Jr. He also enjoyed playing with his friends at Doris Todd Christian Academy and with his siblings — 7-year-old brother Taylor and 3-year-old sister Taylyn.

Tavin also had a passion for their family farm in Kula, where he would catch butterflies and give his uncle Arthur a tour of all the plants, fruits and vegetables.

Tavin, a student at Doris Todd Christian Academy, throws a shaka at Kapiolani Medical Center in April. Photo courtesy of Davin Hashimoto

“This kid was just amazing and so knowledgeable. . . . He knew where everything was on the farm. He would pick all the berries, he knew all the different fruit trees that we would always stop at,” Criste said. “He just had an awesome heart.”

And every time Tavin was home between treatments, all he wanted to do was “eat steaks and crab legs,” Criste said with a laugh. The family spent as much time as they could with Tavin grilling his favorite foods and creating memories before he passed.

In addition to close family and friends, various people in the community have also followed Tavin’s story since his diagnosis, rallying around the hashtag of #TavinTuff and sporting black T-shirts with the letter “T” in a Superman-style shield. Through prayer, positive social media posts and fundraisers, Davin Hashimoto said that he and his family have felt surrounded by love and support that “made this journey a little bit easier.”

Makana Garanganza, a family-friend, set up a few fundraisers and a GoFundMe page at www.gofundme.com/ tavintuff to help the Hashimotos with medical expenses. The two families work together at their church, The Movement, which is now called The Movement.

Davin Hashimoto hopes to settle funeral arrangements for the end of the month to mourn the loss of Tavin, but to also celebrate the 10 years they had with him.

“He just had a positive attitude about everything. He was always so grateful,” Tammi-Lyn Hashimoto said. “Whoever he met, he would bring so much joy.”

* Dakota Grossman can be reached at dgrossman@mauinews.com.

** This story includes a correction from original publication on Thursday, June 6, 2019.