KALAHEO — Betty Ihara was a cancer survivor and used to help make luminaria, said Ora Tashiro on Friday at the Kalaheo Neighborhood Center.
Ihara, a longtime resident of Kalaheo and known for her dedication for creating ti leaf lei for Naval Academy head coach Ken Niumatalolo to wear during the Navy vs. Army football game, passed away in January, but will not be forgotten.
“She was a survivor. We’re making a luminaria for Betty,” Tashiro said. “But it’s still early. We’re also making one for Takeshi Fujita of the West Kauai Hongwanji, Hanapepe Temple, who also passed away.”
Tashiro was joined by a group of ladies including Kuni Quon, Rachel Yamauchi, Catherine Hamamura, Harriet Silva, Sandra Haynes, Tina Sakamoto, and Renee Takahashi to create luminaria for the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life event on April 23 and 24 at the Hanapepe soccer fields.
“We do this primarily to help Laurie Tateishi and the West Kauai Hongwanji, Hanapepe Temple,” Tashiro said. “The ones which are remaining after the Hanapepe Relay for Life gets moved over to the North Shore Relay for Life which will take place in Kilauea.”
Tashiro said this is the fourth year the Kukuiolono ladies have worked on creating luminaria for the Relay for Life which is headed by Patti Ornellas of the American Cancer Society.
“Patti said she was going to be here this morning,” Tashiro said. “But I guess she forgot. There would normally be a lot more ladies, too, but we moved this month’s meeting up one week. We’ll also be making luminaria during our meeting on the second week of April before the Relay for Life.”
Tashiro said the group was most appreciative of the support of Longs Drugs, which donated a case of calendars for the ladies to use in creating the luminaria.
During a recent event, the Family Night Bingo benefiting the Relay for Life at the Kukui Grove Center, Ornellas said the Amerian Cancer Society is hoping to have about 60 teams participating at the Hanapepe soccer fields.
Currently, the American Cancer Society Relay for Life website indicates there are 50 teams with more than 325 people signed up.
The American Cancer Society Relay for Life movement is the world’s largest and most impactful fundraising event to end cancer, uniting communities across the globe to celebrate people who have battled cancer, remember loved ones lost, and take action to finish the fight against cancer.
Interested teams can register online, or contact Ornellas at 246-0695.