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9th Annual Paddle for Life Voyage to Lānaʻi

The Pacific Cancer Foundation announced details on its upcoming 9th annual Paddle for Life event which will take place Saturday, Oct. 7, 2017.

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9th Annual Paddle for Life Brings a Message of Hope to Maui County Cancer Patients and Survivors. Photo Courtesy Michael Fish

This year, 400 paddlers and supporters will make the 36-mile, round-trip journey across the ʻAuʻau channel from Lahaina to Lānaʻi to benefit the foundation.

Teams from Maui, Lānaʻi, Big Island, Oʻahu and Kauaʻi will represent the Hawaiian Islands for this year’s event. PCF says there will also be paddlers from both the West and East coasts, including individual paddlers flying in from Germany and Dubai, as well as a team of paddlers from Calgary, Canada to participate in this year’s event.

“When I was diagnosed 13 years ago, I was sure that my life was over. Then, after a whole lot of treatment, I found paddling… canoeing, dragonboat and outrigger canoe. And I have become a huge proponent of EiM (Exercise is Medicine),” said survivor Joanne Lozynsky from Calgary, Canada.

“There is much about Paddle for Life that reflects a cancer journey: ‘one stroke at a time’, ‘a supportive team’, ‘not a race but a voyage’. And we demonstrate that even though we’ve been touched by an ugly cancer, we are not push overs. So this year, I paddle in honor of my own difficult, but unfinished, journey. I paddle in honor of my friend who finished her paddling/life journey last Sunday June 25, and I will participate in Paddle for Life 2017 because I love to paddle,” Lozynsky added.

PCF says there is a remarkable parallel between an ocean paddling voyage and the journey experienced by cancer patients and survivors. Both involve tremendous physical, mental and emotional strength. Both require patience and perseverance. And, ultimately, it takes a team to make the journey successful.

Community organizer and paddling icon Kimokeo Kapahulehua created Paddle for Life and continues to serve as Event Chairperson, bringing his passion, expertise and vision to this fundraiser.

All 24 canoes will arrive in Hulopoe Bay together and approach the beach holding a mile-long lei. The Paddlers, led by Kimokeo, chant to ask permission to land on Lānaʻi. Kapuna Kepa Maly, Sr. VP of Culture and Historic Preservation for Pulama Lānaʻi, will chant and welcome the paddlers to the beach. “The people of Lānaʻi have helped tremendously organizing our event. I can’t thank them enough. It seems the whole island is offering their support,” said Nancy La Joy, Executive Director at the Pacific Cancer Foundation.

“Our goal this year is to raise $150,000. Our paddlers are working overtime to reach their goal. The people of Maui and Lānaʻi are joining together to make this a special event for our cancer patients, survivors and supporters. We couldn’t have done it without them.” said La Joy.