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She found him homeless in Honolulu and knew exactly who he was — and she hasn’t let him go since NBC News/Screenshot
Screenshot/NBC News

30-year-old Diana Kim had no idea what was going on in her father’s life until she found him on a street corner in Honolulu, Hawaii, homeless, schizophrenic and alone.

Kim, a photographer who focuses on the homeless, knew who this man was on sight.

She told NBC News in an extensive story that she was working on a project when she found her father living among the homeless and standing on a street corner.

Kim’s parents are divorced. After that event, her father was never really there and she never understood why.

She hadn’t seen him in 10 years and all she knew was what her grandmother had told her that her “father’s mental health had deteriorated — that he refused to bathe, eat, or take his medication; that she wasn’t sure where he was living.”

Diana Kim found her father and was determined bring him back into her life and bring him back to life. She visited him in his space — the doorway of a restaurant — for two years imploring him to get help.

“There were nights when I wouldn’t find him. And other days when I least expected it, and he would be standing on the corner of a street. He suffered from severe schizophrenia, and left untreated, he was not always responsive,” she said. “There were many instances when it appeared as if he was arguing with someone, but nobody was there.”

She went back to visit him on that street corner often, but one day he wasn’t there anymore.

Kim explained why to NBC:

My father had a heart attack while on the street, and someone cared enough to call the police. He was taken to a hospital and was then placed on medications. He eventually stabilized and his mental health conditions were addressed. Having the heart attack truly saved his life. It gave him the opportunity to get back on a treatment plan. And he has been on it ever since.

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After the heart attack, things started to turn around.

Below is a picture of father and daughter near the very beginning.

Then there was rock bottom.

Screenshot/NBC News
Screenshot/NBC News
Screenshot/NBC News
Screenshot/NBC News

But two years after the heart attack, his recovery and rejuvenation was noticeable.

Spent the morning disassembling the exhibit and was so happy that he had the chance to see it. 🙂

Posted by The Homeless Paradise on Thursday, April 9, 2015

Screenshot/NBC News
Screenshot/NBC News

Kim says that her dad continues to receive treatment and is now looking for a job.

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Kim’s dad was a photographer himself back in the day and had a studio.

How fitting it was, then, that it was his daughter’s love of photography that brought them back together.

“So long as we are alive in this world, every day is an opportunity to take hold of that ‘second chance,'” she said. “There is no failure unless you give up, and he never gave up. And I haven’t given up on him.”

Check out Diana Kim’s Kickstarter page for her photography project “The Homeless Paradise.”

(H/T IJ Review)

Matt Naham About the author:
Matt Naham is the Weekend Editor  for Rare. Follow him on Twitter @matt_naham.
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