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Kaiya Mack on Hawaii beach

At just 8 years old, Kaiya Mack raised US$10,000 for American NGO Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC).

It’s the place where Kaiya, who has Trini roots, spent months as a baby while she battled a rare birth defect.

“I’m really happy that I raised my goal,” Kaiya said in an interview.

The young singer, would present both the California and Hawaii locations of the Ronald McDonald House Charities with US $5000 cheques next week.

“If it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t be here today,” Kaiya said.

Ronald McDonald House Charities is a non-profit corporation which creates, finds and supports programmes that directly improve the health and well-being of children and their families.

RMHC programmes help families with sick or injured children worldwide stay together and near leading hospitals and health care services, helping to ensure they have access to the medical care their child needs while being fully supported and actively involved.

Kaiya, who lives in Hawaii, was born with Gastroschisis. “That means your intestines are outside of your body,” Kaiya said she has since undergone six surgeries.

Her father Jonny Mack said while his daughter is better now, it wasn’t an easy journey.

“She spent four months in the NICU, had four operations in those four months and then two years ago she had some complications from the earlier surgeries, and she had to go back and do two more surgeries and we had to go back to the Ronald McDonald House again,” Jonny Mack said.

Kaiya started to raise the money back in December. Her first song was Last Christmas with a reggae beat which she and composer and record producer J-Vibe recreated.

By the end of 2020 they hit the $5000 mark. The duo then released their version of Dynamite originally by South Korean boy band BTS. She made her $10,000 goal after ABC7 News aired the story of her charitable gesture.

“I’m glad it didn’t take that long, “Kaiya said.

Jonny said he was proud of his daughter who just wants to give back.

“She’s just a very empathetic human being like (sic) she always like if there is a homeless guy on the street, she wants us to buy food for him ,give him something, she can’t see somebody sad, that’s her nature,” he said.

He told Guardian Media that it was an honour seeing her live out her passions and help others especially people at Ronald Mcdonald house where his family benefited, by using her gift.

The young singer, who wants to release her originals next, was able to meet many celebrities like Usher, Snoop Dogg and rapper Cardi B who also has Trini roots, but she still has her favourite artists from this country.

“I would say Machel Montano because he did a song with Ariana Grande and I like it,” she said.

The Dynamite singer also likes Olatunji and his song Kaya.

She even told her parents that she wants to live in T&T.

“I like Trinidad because it’s a place like where everybody parties all the time,” she said while giggling.

Her father, originally Diego Martin, said he was saddened to hear about Andrea Bharatt’s death and what women are facing in this country and will be looking into ways where Kaiya’s music can help end violence against women in his home country.

“I’m in a home full of women, even my dog is a girl, it’s sad to hear what is happening in Trinidad,” he said.