Paradise Ride Kauai kicks off

PUHI — Grant Hirata and Leesha Kawamura were glad to participate in the Malama Pono 10th annual Paradise Ride Kauai Saturday, which left the Island School campus for a ride westward to the Kauai Coffee turnaround.

“I haven’t done this for about three years,” Kawamura said. “Each time they’ve held it, I’ve had to be away for business. This year, I’m home. I haven’t been practicing so I hope I make it.”

The Paradise Ride is a major fundraiser for Malama Pono Health Services which recently moved its facilities to the Kukui Grove Health Center.

“This event helps keep our doors open,” said Mistee Bailey-Myrick, the Malama Pono executive director. “We’ve just moved into our new facilities which allow us to provide individualized, compassionate health care services and education to meet the evolving needs of those on Kauai.”

More than 80 bicycle riders gathered at the Island School cafeteria to complete the registration process and enjoy breakfast before leaving on the first leg of the two-day, 120-mile ride over a new course. Today the route goes north.

“This year we should be covering 120 miles over two days,” said Elyse Litvack, the event director. “We have a good number of bikers, but are still short of our $75,000 goal.”

Bailey-Myrick said contributions are welcome from people who want to support the bikers, but did not have an opportunity to do so before the ride started.

“We’re collecting for Malama Pono and the bicycle riders through Aug. 31,” Bailey-Myrick said. “People are able to write checks to Malama Pono with a designation ‘Paradise Ride’ and mail to Malama Pono, P.O. Box 1950, Lihue, Hawaii 96766, or visit the Malama Pono and contribute online.”

Litvack said the number of volunteers is up from last year’s event. And this year, for the first time, Malama Pono has support from major corporate sponsors including Wilcox Memorial Hospital, Kukuiula, and the Courtyard by Marriott at Coconut Beach.

Bailey-Myrick was pleased with the corporate sponsorships.

“The Wilcox Hospital support was one of the last acts by Kathy Clark before she retired,” Bailey-Myrick said. “She not only approved the support, but the Wilcox Hospital’s new website also has a link to Malama Pono and the services we provide. The Courtyard by Marriott not only sponsored one of the rest stops, they will have people to man the rest stops Sunday at Lydgate Park.”

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