MDA fundraiser begins with annual Lock-Up

the garden island

NAWILIWILI — The Kaua‘i Board of Realtors big quarterly meeting was abruptly disrupted Thursday morning.

Kaua‘i police officer Ron Venneman came in the entrance along with Muscular Dystrophy Association deputy Dee Sarmento.

“I know it’s not me,” Karen Ono said earlier as she watched the pair make their way across the lobby of the Grand Ballroom at the Kaua‘i Marriott Resort and Beach Club.

The pair stopped off at an exhibition table that was set up for the benefit of the meeting audience, and without hesitation, Venneman slapped the cuffs on Lisa Ladesma.

Ladesma was one of more than 50 of Kaua‘i’s executives, business and government leaders who were arrested to help the MDA Lock-Up event.

After being booked for a minimum of an hour’s stay in the MDA jail located upstairs at Duke’s Restaurant in the Kaua‘i Marriott, Ladesma and the rest of the convicts were free to go.

While incarcerated, the inmates were treated to jail grub from Duke’s while enjoying some live entertainment that was conducive to raising funds on the many cell phones that appeared once the convicts settled in at a table.

“Funds from the MDA Lock-Up go primarily to help send kids to summer camp,” said MDA Program Coordinator Allisyn Hayes. “There are other events on the MDA fund-raising calendar as well. The highlight of the year is the annual Jerry Lewis telethon held during the Labor Day weekend.”

Hayes said during this event, Kauaians also have an opportunity to contribute towards helping people who suffer from muscular dystrophy.

There is the Catch A Cure and Fill the Boot programs which are both hosted on Kaua‘i.

The MDA Lock-Up is just one of the MDA special events that provide a fun way to raise funds for the battle against neuromuscular diseases.

“If a felon makes his bail, that enables two children to attend camp,” Hayes said.

As the stream of felons increased due to the closeness to lunch hour, Audrey Taniguchi, the MDA district manager, noted that Earl Palai had raised some $1,400 by himself.

Others such as King Kaumuali‘i School principal Karen Liu and Kathleen Haraguchi elected to just post their bail and have lunch.

Hayes said the Lock Up has been an annual event on Kaua‘i for the past 14 years, having being hosted at such locations as Kukui Grove mall, Keoki’s Paradise and Duke’s.

• Dennis Fujimoto, photographer and staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 253) or


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