KILAUEA — When you are a survivor, every day is a birthday, Christmas and Thanksgiving all rolled into one, said Daveline Ching.
Ching, the 2013 Hawaii Hero of Hope, joined several hundred people representing 21 teams, and the community of Kauai, in raising funds for the battle of cancer during the North Shore Relay for Life at the Kauai Christian Academy Friday in Kilauea.
“Every day is a second chance,” Ching, a resident of Waikoloa on the Big Island, said. “It’s an opportunity to tell people, survivors or caregivers, to never give up.”
As a Hero of Hope representing Hawaii and part of the Pacific Islands and Guam, Ching said she’s made an attempt to attend and participate in other Relay for Life events. Last week she was on the Big Island, and the week before, she was on Oahu. She also does a lot of volunteering and speaking engagements about cancer.
“As a survivor, life is so genuine,” Ching said. “I have a second chance to share, and I tell people, ‘If I can do it, you can, too!”
Another Big Island resident, Miss Hawaii United States, joined the walkers at the Kauai Christian Academy field, which was lined with tents.
Katie Burleson of the American Cancer Society said Miss Hawaii United States led the Miss-Ter Relay, which took place in the early Saturday morning.
Survivors were in the limelight, and Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. led the Survivors and Caregivers lap, which opened the all-night event.
“This is our fourth or fifth year, doing this,” said Dayna Moriguchi-Santos of Haena, a survivor. “After doing it for a cousin and an uncle, I’m now a survivor. This is one of the most pleasurable events I do.”
Moriguchi received help from her family and friends when she hosted the Family Matters tent, which offered a plate lunch.
Another survivor, Joelyn Barran, was surrounded by family and friends, several donning “Caregiver” sashes, and offered more food at the Kilauea Girls tent.
“We’re doing pretty good right now,” said Kristie Nakagoshi. “I think we’re one of the top fundraisers for this event.”
Burleson said the goal of the North Shore Relay for Life is to raise $37,000, and people can still contribute to the effort by visiting relay.acsevents.org/site/TR? fr id=52106&pg=entry.
Valerie Saiki, one of the North Shore Relay co-chairs with Laurie Cicotello, was offering hand-carved mango wood bowls in two sizes.
“One of the different things outside of moving to Kilauea, is we’re doing it on Friday night so people can have two days to recover,” said Cicotello, a teacher at the Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School.
Another teacher, Mary Lardizabal, the band and choir director at Kapaa Middle School, handled the entertainment.
“This is big,” Lardizabal said. “I’ve done big things before, but this is really big. I was so impressed with how many kids from the choir and ukulele band turned out, considering school just started.”
Michael Drake and his family performed a family fire knife routine, which preceded the luminaria lighting.
Teams participating in the North Shore Relay included Abby & Sophia’s Mouseketeers, ABCD Ohana, ACS Leadership/Advocacy, BadAss Pirates, Carol and Val’s All Stars, Church of the Pacific, Department of Health-Kauai, Family Matters, Hanakila Basketball Club, Kilauea Girls, Kilauea Bakery’s Kicking It, Manaolana, Miss Hawaii United States, No Worries!, North Shore Fellowship, Perius, PFLAG Kauai, Team BAYADA, The I Will Survivors, The Westin Princeville, and Team Wyndham with Christopher Reed, manager.