It is said that some people come into our lives and quickly go while some stay for awhile and leave footprints on our hearts.
This past Wednesday, at Keaau Elementary School, students and teachers alike were introduced to how footprints can be so powerful that they change our lives forever.
At the start of 2012 the faculty, staff and students of KES lost their longtime SASA, Jayson Correa, to cancer.
“Mr. Correa was at the school for about 20 years,” Teacher Maile Bellosi said. “He struggled with his disease privately and painfully for the last several years.”
His death was devastating for the staff members of the school, many of whom had worked with him for over 15 years.
“As our SASA (school administrative services assistant) he was an integral part of our school’s functionality,” Bellosi said. “He was the guy we had to rely on for everything important.”
To commemorate Jayson Correa’s legacy at Keaau Elementary the faculty, students and staff were collecting donations for the American Cancer Society through a variety of activities such as Relay Recess and other on campus activities.
Correa’s parents and other relatives were in attendance and his nephew; Nathanuel Chow-Guzman, a 4th grader, single handedly raised the most money for the Cancer Society.
“I collected $331 in Uncle’s memory,” Chow-Guzman said. “I was very sad when uncle died and today we are doing different things to remember him. I did a one mile run and thought about him the entire way.”
Everywhere on the KES campus that I looked, on every classroom door, there were cut out footprints with names on them.
“The students, staff and families were all given footprint cutouts on which a name of a loved one who is battling, has beaten, or has succumbed to cancer, is written,” Bellosi explained. “These feet were put up on all the bulletin boards around campus to help students understand that cancer is an ‘equalizer,’ something we all have dealt/deal with in our families.
The day that I was on campus was the culmination of health and wellness lessons that went from March 19 to April 10 in which teachers provided a large set of health and wellness lessons with the idea of conveying a message that lifestyle choices can help lessen the likelihood of cancer and other diseases afflicting them.
The last day of the lesson was called ‘Kukini no ke Ola’ or Run for Life/Messengers for Life.
“We know we can reach our families and the extended community through the education of their children,” Bellosi said.
Through collaborative effort students from Kamehameha and Keaau High along with community organizations from Hilo Medical Center, Bay Clinic and the American Red Cross a health fair was organized with a variety of learning activities.
“Students rotated through the health fair over a 45 minute period,” Bellosi said. “We want them to see the value of a healthy, drug free lifestyle and hopefully leave a footprint in their lives by doing so.”
After the Health Fair Bellosi and her colleagues lead the students on a one mile run around campus.
“The run is free,” Bellosi said. “I got Road ID to donate 900 running numbers and we borrowed a timing clock from the Athletic Department at Kamehameha Schools.
Bellosi measured out a course in three rounds for all kids, pre-kindergarten, through 5th grade plus all the staff.
The cafeteria staff provided fresh fruit at the conclusion and a DJ was on hand, donating his time and expertise, to pump up the participants on the course and around the finish line area.
“My mom has a rare cancer and needed surgery three times,” said 5th grader Maya Rosof.
Rosof didn’t know the name of her mother’s cancer but pointed to the location which is in the neck under her right ear.
“It was definitely scary and I was freaking out when I heard the news.” she said. “My mom had to go to a hospital in San Francisco and I was really afraid.”
Rosof also spoke of all the things she was learning that day which included trying to stay healthy and fit by running or walking and eating the right foods.
“I am worried about cancer and how it might affect me someday,” Rosof said. “But I want to learn more and be able to help others with cancer someday.”
I was impressed with the more than 800 students in red shirts and nearly 100 staff members that participated in the one mile run/walk event.
Everyone connected to the KES family was out and moving in a variety of activities from Zumba, to soccer drills, balancing games and more, much, much, more.
“Everything we have used today was donated by community groups or individuals,” Bellosi said. “Our donations came from the public and from friends and family as well as from our coordinating staff made up of Iwalani Harris, Elaine Lu, Keone Farias and myself.”
On a bulletin board outside of Bellosi’s office was a footprint with the name of her sister.
“I watched my sister battle through Stage 4 kidney cancer and she has run the Honolulu Marathon twice since,” Bellosi said. “God Bless all those battling cancer.”
And someday should you happen to see a slow moving jogger refusing to stop exercising while battling cancer remember to smile, say “woof” and never shy away from “Running with the Big Dog.”
Raising money through health and fitness sporting events is the goal of a service group helping people in South Hawai’i Island.
O Ka’u Kakou, a community service organization, is doing a grass root fundraising project in an effort to raise $1.3 million for a new community health center that would service Kau and the surrounding communities.
The new event, being billed as the ‘Southernmost Goodwill Games in the U.S.A.’ or the Kau Family Fun Fest, is scheduled for Saturday, June 11, with proceeds going to the Bay Clinic for a new facility.
“We’re trying to put on multiple health and fitness events to help raise money to build a much needed new health facility in Kau,” event director Raylene Moses said.
Moses and her crew of volunteers are planning on hosting a day filled with a variety of events which include a half marathon, 10K, and 5K run/walk along with archery, basketball, Portuguese horse shoe tournament and much, much more.
“We’re expecting a thousand or more people to enter one of our many activities,” Moses said.
For runners and walkers alike the half marathon and associated races will use the old cane field road in Kau that was once used to haul sugar cane between the tiny communities of Naalehu and Pahala.
“The course provides our race participants with some of the most scenic views on this side of the Big Island,” Moses said. “The route runs from mauka to makai and runners and walkers are treated to some of the most breathtaking coastal landscapes.”
Bay Clinic, along with a network of volunteers will host a health expo which will have a live auction led by my Mayor Billy Kenoi.
“We will have many things for the entire family,” Moses said. “Live entertainment, keiki activities, Jan Ken Po, are just some of the things that will be going on in conjunction with the road races and various athletic competitions.”
For the youngsters activities include a jumping castle, bungee jumping and rock wall climbing, according to Moses.
“We will have something for everyone and we’re hoping that families will come out and participate,’ Moses said.
The event, sponsored by O Ka’u Kakou, will start at the Naalehu Park. Packet pick up for the run/walk begins on June 10 from 3 to 8 pm and again on race day at 6 am with the race starting an hour later.
“If people doing the race would like to see a map of the course they can go online at http://www.bayclinic.org/downloads/KFFFraceroute.pdf,” Moses said.
In addition to the many activities Bay Clinic will also be providing health screenings and the public is encouraged to take part in this free service according to Moses.
O Ka’u Kakou board president, Wayne Kawachi, hopes that this event will bring more public awareness to the community on the needs for health services in the area.
“I know we won’t be able to raise anywhere near the needed $1.3 million,” Kawachi said. “But anything we do raise is more than what we had to begin with.”
Kawachi heads the nine member, all volunteer board, which is organized as a service group to the community.
“We live in a economically disadvantaged community and we need to help our neighbors anyway we can as this project is just one of many that we have and are doing.” Kawachi said.
“Our intentions are good as this new facility is a great need for us and will double the services currently being provided in our community,” Moses said.
Currently the Kau/Pahala community is being serviced in an old two story house which Moses calls inadequate.
Moses, like many people on the O Ka’u Kakou board, is a resident of the area and wants to see medical services be brought up to speed.
“Our board was started six years ago as a non-profit with the original concern of keeping track of development in the Kau area,” Moses said.
Through another fund raising project O Ka’u Kakou was able to raise $80,000 to help purchase a van for the Kau Hospital Charitable Foundation to help transport patients and seniors to various health appointments.
“What better way to raise money than through health and fitness activities,” Moses said. “I’ve never undertaken anything of this size or magnitude before, but we’re excited about all the positive things that can come from this.”
Entry fees for the runs and keiki activities go up after May 11 and again on race day, so Moses ask participants to register early.
Applications can be downloaded by going to http://okaukakou.com or by dropping by one of the Bay Clinics here on the Big Island. On line registration is also available by clicking on the race360.com link on their web site.
“One hundred percent of the money generated from hosting this event will go toward the construction of a new Kau Family Health Center,” Moses said.
For more information on volunteering, sponsorship, vendor opportunities and participation contact Moses at (808) 265-8251 or email her at email@example.com.
“I don’t have much experience doing an event of this size, but what better way to get the community together than through health and fitness activities,” Moses said.
Record Attendance Expected for First Annual Ka’u Half Marathon (PR announcement)
Na’alehu, HI – O Ka’u Kakou proudly announces the first annual Ka’u Family Fun Fest on Saturday, June 11, 2011 at Na’alehu Park on Hawai’I Island. Online registration and event details are now available at race360.com/15811.
Known as “The Southernmost Goodwill Games in the USA”, this unprecedented event features a Half Marathon, 10K and 5K races, and a variety of athletic tournaments for all ages. Bay Clinic, a network of nonprofit community clinics, has been named the beneficiary of this summer fundraiser with proceeds going toward the construction of a new Ka’u Family Health Center.
This event promises to be a memorable experience for runners of all ages and abilities. The race course traverses an old historic “Cane Field Road” in Ka’u, once used for hauling sugar cane to Na’alehu and Pahala sugar plantations. Offering one of the most scenic views of the Big Island’s southern coast, the route encompasses over 30 miles of breathtaking coastal landscapes from mauka to makai (mountain to sea).
Following the race, athletes will demonstrate their skills and compete for prizes in archery, basketball, Jan Ken Po, a hunter’s obstacle course and Portuguese horse shoe tournaments. Live music and entertainment, a live auction with Mayor Billy Kenoi, food and vendor booths, a health expo and a number of children’s activities will be also featured.
The Ka’u Family Fun Fest will be marketed heavily both locally and internationally, offering significant media exposure for participating sponsors and community leaders. Contact race director Raylene Moses at (808) 235-8251 or firstname.lastname@example.org for information on volunteer, sponsorship and vendor opportunities.