Kai Saadieh's cancer had recurred and spread throughout his body by the time he became a patient at El Camino Hospital.
Despite heroic efforts over six months of biweekly treatments, he succumbed to the disease at the young age of 48. In memory of Kai, described by his family as "the life of the party" with a big personality and endlessly optimistic outlook, his sisters and fiancée organized a fundraising dinner at the San Jose Municipal Golf course on September 28, to benefit the Cancer Center.
One hundred twenty friends, family members, acquaintances and colleagues attended. They toasted Kai with shots of tequila (his favorite drink), feasted on spaghetti, purchased raffle tickets, bought t-shirts and sweatshirts that said, "I wear blue for Kai," and bid on live auction items. The event raised $6,300 that the family proudly donated to El Camino Hospital Foundation for the cancer program and they plan to make the memorial dinner an annual tradition.
"Kai loved everyone at El Camino Hospital and felt their affection for him," recalls his sister Janin. "He was so comforted by them. They made all the hard things cancer patients have to go through easier and more uplifting. Now we are doing this fun thing in memory and honor of him. This is exactly what he would want us to do."
"We feel very good about raising money for an amazing place that Kai felt so connected to," Janin continues. "If we can make another cancer patient’s journey a little easier, our tragedy will have served a greater purpose."