Concert to Benefit Mana’olana Pink Paddlers
By Vanessa Wolf
Started in 2006 by members of the Maui Canoe Club, the Mana’olana Pink Paddlers was modeled after the Abreast-in-a-Boat program in Canada, a Vancouver-based group of women who have had a breast cancer diagnosis and come together to participate in dragon boat paddling.
Mary Dungans, Mana’olana president, explained that the Maui group’s mission is “to design, execute, and cultivate hope, health, fitness, and fun for cancer survivors and supporters, utilizing traditional Hawaiian outrigger canoes to encourage physical exercise, build confidence and friendship.”
The group endeavors to prove by example that exercise can make a difference and demonstrate that individuals living with cancer can lead full and active lives.
There are currently 51 active members and 18 honorary members who are cancer survivors who visit and stay connected with Mana’olana.
The original vision was to reach out to female breast cancer survivors, but Dungans noted that they have since “expanded our membership to include ALL cancer survivors and their supporters, regardless of age or gender. We also welcome visiting survivors.”
On Sunday, the benefit concert at Casanova’s Italian Restaurant lasts from 2 to 5 p.m. and will be emceed by local personality Kathy Collins. Soul Kitchen will provide the entertainment.
Soul Kitchen is described as “an acoustic musical experience crossing genres from Soul, Blues, Jazz, Zydeco, Rock and Pop performing unique covers and original music with strong vocals and three-part harmonies.”
Michael Elam, Soul Kitchen’s keyboardist, is also the president of the Maui Canoe Club, Mana’olana’s main sponsoring organization.
The event will also include a silent auction with gift certificates being offered from Blue Hawaiian Helicopters, Expeditions Lanai ferry, Haleakala Bike Company, Maui Academy of Performing Arts, Maui Jet Ski, Maui Ocean Center, Old Lahaina Luau, Pacific Whale Foundation, Café O’Lei, and Monkeypod Kitchen, among others.
As Maui’s only non-profit outrigger paddling organization focused on helping cancer survivors, Mana’olana is conscious of the increasing need for their services, and is committed to growing and adapting their organization to meet emerging needs.
They acquired their first pink canoe through a donation from McDonalds of Maui, and a private donation enabled them to order a second pink canoe, which will arrive this summer.
They also raised enough money through their fundraising efforts in 2012 to purchase two used canoes which they are retrofitting as a double-hull so they can carry double the participants, and can better serve cancer survivors who are learning to paddle, or who have physical limitations.
Funds raised by Mana’olana don’t just benefit the canoe club.
Dungans explained that “our non-profit status allows us to expand our efforts in service to our community, including a rewarding community partnership with Hui No Ke Ola Pono, a native Hawaiian and community-centered health center. We have already donated over $10,000 in 2013 to support their cancer screening and treatment programs.”
Anyone who can’t attend Sunday’s event but would still like to donate to the Mana’olana Pink Paddlers is encouraged to do so online or by sending a check to Mana’olana Pink Paddlers, P.O. Box 588, Kihei, Hi 96753.
Have an idea for a fun or thought-provoking story or topic? Get in touch: we want to hear from you. -Vanessa (@mauinow.com)