“The goal of Mana‘olana Pink Paddlers is to design, execute and promote hope, health, fitness and fun, utilizing traditional Hawaiian outrigger canoes to encourage physical exercise and to build confidence and camaraderie,” said Mana‘olana President Gloria Snyder. “Our members and supporters are committed to working together to make a difference.”
Special guests recognized at the blessing included Maui County Mayor Alan Arakawa, South Maui Councilman Don Couch, Environmental Coordinator Rob Parsons, McDonald’s Maui owners/operators Diana Sumida and Erlinda Rosario, McDonald’s Corporation Honorary Chairman Fred L. Turner and the Board of Directors of Maui Canoe Club.
Mana‘olana Spiritual Advisor Kimokeo Kapahulehua conducted the blessing ceremony, Maui Canoe Club Past President Bob Fondiller served as master of ceremonies and entertainment was provided by 808UKE JAMS.
“We are so grateful to our sponsors, McDonald’s Maui and the Maui Canoe Club, for their support, and for enabling us to reach out to Maui's cancer survivors and supporters and to invite them to join us as we celebrate ‘life after cancer,’” said Mana‘olana Board Member Carol Dembert.
“We feel giving back to the community is the right thing to do,” said Diana Sumida and Erlinda Rosario, owners/operators of McDonald’s Maui. “We’re proud to support cancer survivors and hope to inspire others to join in this mission.”
Mana‘olana was founded in 2006 by David Williams of the Maui Canoe Club and Joanna Hutton, a coach of “A Breast in a Boat” in Vancouver. At that time, Hutton stated: “Our mission is to prove by example that exercise can make a difference, to raise awareness about breast cancer, and to demonstrate that women living with breast cancer can lead full and active lives.”
The organization now includes supporters and survivors of all cancers. In 2011, Mana‘olana welcomed its first male members.