POIPU — As Jerry Balderson made his way through the three-mile course of Saturday’s Bum Run, his thoughts were on his wife.
“She loved running,” the Kalaheo man said.
But his wife, Cindy Balderson, passed away three weeks ago of colon cancer. She was 59.
So Jerry came out for the fun run at Poipu Bay Golf Course as both a chance to continue his recovery from the loss of his wife of 24 years and a chance to remember the special times.
Both were retired Navy and enjoyed traveling and exercising. They even trained for a marathon together.
“We used to run the Great Aloha Run together, ” he said.
Cindy was diagnosed with colon cancer a little over a year ago. By the time it was found, it was at stage four.
“We had a good year. We did a lot of traveling,” Jerry said.
Kauai is home, so being on the island, and running, was good.
“This is a healing thing today,” he said.
He was one of abut 150 who came out for the third annual Bum Run hosted by the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort and Spa. It was started when Diann Hartman, Grant Hyatt public relations director, was diagnosed with colon cancer.
March is Colon Cancer Awareness Month. Colon cancer is the second-most common form of cancer in the U.S.
Hartman recovered, but recently suffered a bit of a setback, so she was in San Diego for treatment.
“She really wanted to be here today,” said Kaela Wold, Grand Hyatt sales manager.
Hartman sent a text that said, “I don’t care what happens to me. I just want to make sure I can help somebody else.”
“It’s never about Diann, if you know Diann,” Wold said. “It’s always about taking care of somebody else, about raising awareness.”
Hartman was out of the hospital “and looking forward to eating lots of desserts,” Wold said.
She urged the crowd to take care of their health and support one another if trouble arises. One person told Wold he was recently diagnosed with colon cancer and was scheduled to start treatment Monday.
While some battles have been lost, others have been won. Some are just beginning.
“Thank you for much for coming out,” Wold said.
Following a short motivational speech from Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr., they were off, with keiki leading the way. The course followed the golf path of Poipu Bay Golf Course, with ocean views on hot, sunny afternoon.
There were also educational aspects, a silent auction, and prizes and refreshments afterward. Proceeds support the American Cancer Society on Kauai.
Dereck Kaneshiro of Kekaha was among the early finishers and cruised strong to the finish line.
He wanted to come out to support the fight against cancer and get in some exercise. He did both.
“It was a good run,” he said.
Peter Therrien of Canada carried his 2-year-old son, Rowan, through most of the hilly course.
“He runs as much as he can, then when he gets tired, I carry him,” Therrien said.
Rowan’s grandmother, Marylyn Robertson, passed away of cancer seven years ago. Many of the family wore T-shirts in Robertson’s memory and ran the first Bum Run in 2015. Many returned Saturday.
“This is close to our hearts,” Therrien said.
Larry and Shirley Manning of Grand Rapids, Mich., were pleased to join the Bum Run. They had a good time and smiled as they chatted about taking a shortcut to reach the finish line early.
Both are cancer survivors.
“You can’t help but feel good here,” Larry said.
They’ve volunteered with the American Cancer Society for years in Michigan.
“We’ve got a soft spot in our hearts for American Cancer Society,” Larry said.