Daddy's little girl: Lena Yada
On ECW on Sci Fi, our fans get to see Lena Yada's fun-loving, sultry side. Whether she's in the ring or backstage interviewing Superstars, the 2007 Diva Search competitor has a knack for entertaining our fans. However, Yada's mood changes when she reflects upon her time outside WWE with her father, Kiyoshi, back home in Los Angeles.
Five months ago, Kiyoshi, 60, moved from Honolulu to Los Angeles to live with Lena. Kiyoshi has sarcoidosis, an immune system disorder that manifests as a restrictive disease in the lungs. The disease causes a decrease in lung volume, which limits the amount of air drawn into the lungs. Kiyoshi has lived with the disease in both lungs for 20 years. Over the past three years, his condition has worsened, which resulted in Kiyoshi recently having to receive a double-lung transplant. (Click here to learn more on sarcoidosis.)
"The hardest part about my condition is the oxygen tank, because it limits what I can do," Kiyoshi said of his disease. "I miss traveling and visiting other countries."
After consulting with his doctors in Honolulu, the Yada family was informed that L.A. would be a better place to live, because hospitals there have the technology and physicians needed to more effectively treat Kiyoshi's rare lung disorder.
"I enjoy living with Lena. She takes really good care of me," Kiyoshi said of his daughter. "I miss her when she's on the road. Lena goes everywhere, and it's to the point where I want to go with her."
Daddy's Little Girl
Recently, Lena and her father received good news that Kiyoshi's type 2 diabetes is under control and his vision is good.
"You never think when you're in your 20s you'll be taking care of your parents," Lena expressed. "You just never imagine this type of situation will happen."
When Lena's on tour with ECW, Kiyoshi enjoys watching his daughter interview massive Superstars such as Big Daddy V and Mark Henry on WWE.com's ECW X-Stream.
"It's amazing, because she's just a little person. When I see her next to the bigger wrestlers, I'm shocked that's who her co-workers are," Kiyoshi said.
Kiyoshi notes that he's not surprised of his daughter's success in WWE. Growing up in Honolulu, Lena relished the spotlight. At the age of 4, Lena landed her first acting roles in Japanese commercials produced by her father's production company.
"She was so cute and not shy at all. Even at a young age she was a good worker," Kiyoshi reminisced. "I knew she would never have a regular 9-to-5 job. I didn't think she would go into professional wrestling, but I knew her route would be entertainment. I'm very proud of her."
On the Road
While on tour, Lena makes sure that she talks to her father at least once a day. Though she keeps smiling, there are times when the severity of her father's illness gets to her -- normally when she's alone in her hotel bedroom "fighting with the pillow."
"I cry about it sometimes, but when I'm done, I always have to remember to think positive. If I think negative, it's going to show in front of my father. I don't want to dampen his spirits. I think he does the same with me," an emotional Lena said while wiping away her tears with a Kleenex.
Lena credits her father's strength during this strenuous challenge for providing her with inspiration.
"I think it's made me stronger. It's definitely tested me as a person," she said. "Everything I am today is because of my parents. Even when they don't agree, they are always there to support me, respect my decisions and try to understand where I am coming from."
For now, Lena stays upbeat as she continues to balance her life as an ECW Diva and taking care of her dad when she's home.
"I have so much to be thankful for. Even though I struggle to cope with everything sometimes, I have to move on. I'm really an ambitious person. If you give me a challenge, I will do it to my utmost ability," Yada poignantly said. "It just surprises me how much one is willing to sacrifice. I don't think I've sacrificed anything, because it's my family. It's more of a blessing that I can spend this time with him."