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"Paddle Away" Photo: Andrew Shoemaker

Eighth annual Paddle For Life event set for October 8th

In The 8th Annual Paddle For Life, Hundreds Of Cancer Survivors And Supporters Will Journey Across The Open Ocean In Canoes To Embark On A Challenging Physical, Mental And Emotional Journey That Can Only Be Achieved Through Perseverance, Determination And Teamwork.

On October 8th, over 200 cancer survivors and supporters will paddle six-person outrigger canoes across the ‘Au’au channel from Lahaina to Lana’i, a 34-mile round trip journey, to raise funds for Pacific Cancer Foundation in their 8th Annual Paddle For Life fundraiser.

Each paddler is asked to raise $150 in donations, however, most participants raise more, much like a walk-a-thon. The average amount raised by individual paddlers in the past is about $450, and last year one individual raised over $10,000 alone in donations. Participants may organize their own teams, or be assigned to one. The event takes place over two days, beginning at 6:30am on Saturday, October 8th on Hanakao’o Beach Park in Lahaina with an opening ceremony and blessing before departure. After arriving in Manele Bay on Lana’i the paddlers and their supporters enjoy a traditional welcoming ceremony lead by Lana’i’s Kepa Maly of Pulama Lana’i and the Executive Director of the Lana’i Culture & Heritage Center, and Kimokeo Kapahulehua of Maui. Paddlers then prepare for overnight camping and a celebratory dinner. The following morning after breakfast, the crews paddle back to Lahaina to enjoy a commemorative lunch on the beach.

“We are very excited about this year’s event with this life-affirming journey that parallels the physical and mental challenges of surviving cancer. We are well on our way to meeting our $80,000 goal with over 200 paddlers traveling in at least 16 canoes, the largest in our history.

We are so grateful to be working with Pulama Lana’i to continue this wonderful annual event,” said Nancy La Joy, PCF Executive Director, “we truly appreciate all of their support and kokua.”

Though the event itself takes place over just two days, training, fundraising and partnerships begin many months before, and the uplifting energy lingers far afterwards. Almost half the participants are cancer survivors and most everyone’s life has somehow been touched by cancer. Many paddlers take laminated photos in memory of loved ones or in honor of those in the midst of the battle.

In addition to monetary donations, all kinds of gifts have been streaming in from the Maui ‘ohana to support this year’s theme of nurturing health. Massage therapists will travel on the ferry to meet paddlers as they arrive on Lana’i, healthful meals will be served, and access to Yoga and Chi Gung classes, gyms and personal trainers are already in use.

“Mana’olana Pink Paddlers has participated in the Lana’i voyage since its inception 8 years ago. We train for months in preparation, bringing our team together as one strong ‘ohana. Paddle for Life is much more than a voyage on the ocean, it is a voyage of inspiration and empowerment for survivors and supporters alike to believe in themselves and find hope for their future. The voyage is truly a life changing event for everyone involved and I am honored to be part of it,” says president, Mary Dungans.

The paddlers need all the support they can get from their community for this terrific endeavor. You can help support their efforts by visiting Pacific Cancer Foundation’s website: www.pacificcancerfoundation.org and registering as a participant, sponsoring a paddler, making a donation, or becoming an event sponsor. This year’s voyage is made possible by our generous sponsors: Pulama Lana’i, Safeway Foundation, SGS Hawaii Inc., Landscape Management, Alysha Sparkman R(S)-76806 a Realtor® with Equity One Real Estate, LLC, R.E.A.P. Foundation, Lulu’s Lahaina, Nalu’s Kihei, Nordic PCL Construction Inc., the Hard Rock Café and all the generous support from family and friends near and far.

About Pacific Cancer Foundation
The Pacific Cancer Foundation is an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded in 2005 by a group of concerned health care professionals and cancer survivors. The Foundation’s mission is to provide Access, Knowledge and Support to all those whose lives have been touched by cancer in Maui County. To learn more visit www.pacificcancerfoundation.org, or call us at (808) 242-7661.

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