Stories Lived


This story highlights Megan Hassa, a young woman who felt trapped in her life. With little to her name and no future plans she flew to paradise with hope for a change — which is exactly what she found. The Aloha from Hawai`i protected and welcomed her, and showed her a new passion; hiking. Knowing little of the hiking trails and areas on the island, Megan simply chose to trek “Stairway to Heaven” from it’s looming presence over Kaneohe. The trail is notorious for it’s difficulty — 4,000 rusted metal steps bolted to the narrow peak climbing to 2,400 ft. with deathly dropping cliffs on either side. This is not a beginner’s hike. But it is what kick-started Megan’s love for the outdoors and it’s rejuvenating appeal, and it’s what she attributes to changing her attitude and saving her life.


About the Filmmaker
Submitted by Sawyer Chesnut-Pinto

Sawyer Chesnut-Pinto started out in Northern California before expanding his creative reach to Hawai`i. He started as an editor, freelancing for numerous companies and corporations. In 2014, he was tasked to create a documentary revolving around Panamanian Natives and the expansion of the Panama Canal. This is where his eye for cinematography kicked into gear and sparked his interest as a Director of Photography. From there he joined the Academy for Creative Media at the University of Hawai`i at Manoa in 2015, where he was able to create countless projects and films. Now an award-winning filmmaker, Sawyer has many upcoming projects with no desire of slowing down.


  1. Story made me cry. Megan is my niece. I knew she was suffering I didn’t realize how badly. I’m so happy for her and so proud of her. Megan, I love you and I’m sending a big hug your way. Continued success in your journey in life.

  2. Megan, I had a different opinion about you till the day you told me this story. You are such a inspiration to me. Glad you did this video with Sawyer because there is a lot of people on this world with the same situation. I hope this go viral because it could save a lot of people.

  3. I met this girl in my math class. Right as she walked in and sat infront of me, I knew she just looked like someone I would love to be friends with. I didn’t really know anyone in the class either and later we did become friends which was pretty great. After watching this video, it opened my eyes to have more of an insight on someone I know but didn’t know a lot about. It was truly moving and very inspirational. It teaches people that everyone has baggage no matter how “perfect” they seem to be, but it’s how we deal with it that’s the main thing. Megan is remarkably beautiful both inside and out. Thank you for creating this piece for all!!