LIHU‘E – A queen-size quilt, Portuguese bean soup, and Mona Lee’s famous banana bread are among the many items that helped the county’s Relay for Life team raise more than $13,000 for this year’s campaign.
“Our fundraisers are our bread and butter,” said Ann Wooton, captain of the county team. “Every year, we do about three of them, where team members prepare specialty baked goods or lunch items and offer them for sale to county employees. This year, I’m proud to say that as of this writing, we have raised the most money out of all the teams.”
The county has had a Relay for Life team for many years, possibly since the event started on the island in 1999.
Two of the county’s original team members Brenda Martin and Lynnette Meatoga lost their battle with cancer and are honored yearly by their county ‘ohana.
“Many of us became involved because of Brenda and Lynnette and also because of having family members and friends who are survivors of cancer,” said Wooton, noting that the county’s team has expanded to include spouses and children.
This year’s county team is comprised of: Jade Battad; Nalani Brun; Carolyn Carveiro; Mari Chan; Eve Domingcil; Donna Gabriel; Pam Cox; Theresa Koki; Mona Lee; Dale Matsuura; Barbara Montemayor; Carrie Moses; Donna Olivas-Kaohi; Jamison Olivas-Kaohi; Jolene Silva; Vianne Tabata; Wynne Ushigome; and Wooton.
Some team members are also on the Relay for Life planning committee including: Battad; Brun; Chan; Gabriel; Matsuura; Montemayor; Moses; along with Maile Kaauwai, a retired county employee.
The Fire Department and Police Department also play key roles in the Relay for Life event.
They handle logistical elements such as set-up, breakdown, and management of a secure area for the accounting committee.
Wooton gets emotional when she talks about the survivors/caregivers’ lap, which takes place at the beginning of every Relay for Life event.
“It always reminds me that I don’t have a lot to complain about in my life, and I should count my blessings every day,” said Wooton.