The Second Annual Hanalei Open Water Swim on July 26 will be dedicated to last year’s overall winner, Laurie Denton of Oma‘o. An avid swimmer, paddler and outrigger canoe racer, Denton passed away from breast cancer last fall.
“A number of members in the Namolokama Canoe Club that knew Laurie very well were hit hard by her passing,” Dick Smith, an open swim coordinator, said. “In discussions before the canoe club board of directors, several suggested dedicating the swim to her.”
In honor of Denton, race organizers are encouraging others to become aware of breast cancer and to educate themselves about the disease.
Printed materials will be available at the swim for educational purposes, Smith added.
“I am honored they (the canoe club) chose Laurie as motivation,” Ken Denton, Laurie’s husband, said. “Awareness is the best thing so people can educate themselves and to make their own decisions.”
Smith said the swim will be a fundraiser, and because the race is dedicated to Denton, a portion of the funds raised will benefit an individual or family who is also dealing with breast cancer.
“One of our female board members who has dealt with cancer and suggested that transportation is important, such as going to Honolulu for treatment,” Smith said. “So we might be able to assist in that way.”
The recipient of the donation will remain private, Smith added.
“Money will also go to the kids program to spark motivation (in the kids) to go out and do these athletic events,” Denton said.
In addition to having an educational event, Smith said the goal is to make it a community institution.
“We want to make this a fun event … it’s for everyone,” Smith said. “We want to make it a family affair and a community affair.”
The open swim was created last year because there was no swimming type of event for kids and adults, Smith said.
Last year, approximately 100 participants signed up; this year about 40 people, from ages 6 to 78 years old, he added.
Denton said the swim is also about using sports as a way to raise awareness for personal health.
“The event is not only for competition, but the greater cause to raise awareness for breast cancer,” Denton said. “It’s using the tool of high performance and physical competition to raise awareness to your body.”
Late registration for the swim will be at 7 a.m. on July 26 at Hanalei pier. Application forms are available at www.namolokama.com or at various surf, bike shops or athletic clubs.
For more information, contact Smith at 826-7585.
• Rachel Gehrlein, staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 225) or email@example.com