KILAUEA — Jessie Sam Fong has been battling cancer for a number of years, and despite being in a hospital on Oahu, sent her message of hope to Kilauea on Friday.
Her son wrote her message down to share to help curb the emotion, but that was only partially effective as he stopped several times to compose himself while relaying her message.
“You cannot help yourself,” said Bev Pang, recently retired as the vice principal at the Kapaa Middle School and volunteering to register cancer survivors and caregivers at the North Shore Relay for Life at the Kauai Christian Academy in Kilauea. “When you walk with them, the tears just come.”
Several hundred people from all parts of the island gathered behind the opening lap led by cancer survivors to help raise funds, remember those who lost the battle against cancer, and celebrate the lives of those who survive.
Patti Ornellas, the American Cancer Society coordinator, said the goal of the North Shore Relay is $24,000.
“As of Friday morning, we are at $17,000 raised by 20 teams, and counting,” she said.
John Gillespie of King Auto Center, a survivor who was “busy collecting money,” was the top individual fundraiser for the event with more than $5,200 on the relay website. King Auto Center was the top fundraising group with more than $7,600 collected.
Ornellas said the North Shore Relay for Life was made possible through the sponsorship of the Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas. Other sponsors included the Kauai Dermatology, the North Shore Lions Club, and the Kauai Christian Academy whose generosity allowed the Relay on its grounds for the second year.
Joining King Auto Center and the Westin Princeville, participating teams included Abby & Sophia’s Mousketeers, ACS Advocacy & Leadership, Carol & Val’s All Stars, Church of the Pacific, Family Matters, Fely’s Angels, The Hawaiian Photo Bus, Jewel of Paradise, Kathy Koerte’s Angel Warriors, Kilauea Girls, Manaolana, North Shore Fellowship, Perius, Roselani, Team Courageous, and the Wilcox Chemo Queens.