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Relay For Life

“Celebrate, remember, fight back.”

July 1, 2010
Trisha Smith

These fine examples of human nature are just a few of the millions of stories of those whose lives been have touched by cancer.

According to the American Cancer Society’s (ACS) Hawai‘i site at, more than 4,700 people in the islands are diagnosed yearly with cancer, and 2,000 island residents will die from it. Although incident rates are declining, cancer still remains the No. 2 killer of Americans each year, exceeded only by heart disease. Cancer is the leading cause of death for Asian American and Pacific Islander families, and schoolchildren in Hawai‘i die of cancer more than any other disease.

Yet due to an upsurge in early detection, educational awareness and innovative treatments, there are more and more individuals who can say, “I survived cancer.”

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Hearts and “soles” at work for a cure. Join a team effort to battle cancer during the American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life with the Central/South Maui and West Maui events. The annual celebration of cancer survivorship is a fun way to raise vital funds needed to help find a cure for cancer.

The ACS will host its annual fundraiser, Relay For Life, on two separate occasions this month across the Valley Isle, giving residents a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the lives of the patients and their families in our community who have survived cancer, while offering the hope of finding a cure.

As ACS’s signature fundraiser, it has raised millions with an overnight event that originated in 1985 when a young surgeon from Tacoma, Wash., took it upon himself to help out his local society by running in an all-night marathon. After a grueling 24-hour, 83-mile run around a track, Dr. Gordy Klatt raised more than $27,000 in donations from family, friends and patients. Twenty-six years later, the annual Relay For Life is held in communities across the nation and in 19 countries worldwide.

The Maui Chapter of ACS invites you to participate during its two 12-hour events—the Relay For Life of Central/South Maui and the West Maui Relay For Life. Both events are open to the public with free admission, and general donations are appreciated.

Teams of families, friends, churches, businesses and more unite, all with the same goal of conquering cancer. Teams of walkers keep a continuous presence on the track throughout the night, walking in shifts to raise funds.

The Central/South Maui event is set to begin at 6 p.m. on Saturday, July 10, and will run through 6 a.m. on Sunday, July 11, at the War Memorial Stadium. Kīhei will not have its own relay this year and will be included in the Central Maui event. 

“We are anticipating that it will be a bigger, grander, more exciting event for all participants,” said volunteer Betsy Anderson.

Sponsors and some 1,000-plus walkers seek to raise $125,000 this year. 

An array of entertainment is planned for the entire event, with a “carnival-like atmosphere” at each tent, including games and prizes for everyone. 

Start a team, join a team or participate as a survivor—there are many ways to donate to find a cure and “celebrate survivorship.” Funds raised during Relay For Life help support ACS’s mission of “eliminating cancer by helping people stay well, by helping people get well, by finding cures and fighting back.” 

For more information, visit Contact Event Chair Rulan Waikiki at 281-3473 and Co-Chair Nalani Perreira at 357-3700. 

The West Maui Relay For Life is scheduled for Saturday, July 24, at 6 p.m. through Sunday, July 25, 6 a.m. at the Lahaina Recreation Center Park. For more information, visit or contact Steve Aheong at 357-4725.

Those interested can also call the Maui ACS Office at 244-5554.



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