HopeFest Maui raised more than $125,000 on Sept. 30 to support the American Cancer Society’s Clarence T.C. Ching Hope Lodge Hawaii in Honolulu. Hope Lodge Hawaii is a free accommodation facility for adult cancer patients and their caregivers to stay when seeking treatment in Honolulu.
More than 200 guests attended this year’s HopeFest Maui Gala at the Four Seasons Resort Maui; the theme this year was “Maui by Moonlight” to showcase Maui’s best. The program featured cancer survivors Senator Roz Baker and Robert Ho‘okano, who spoke about Hope Lodge Hawai‘i.
“We have served over 231 cancer patients with 3,304 nights,” said Baker. “Forty seven of those patients were from Maui County.”
HopeFest attendees enjoyed a reception featuring music by Ikaika Blackburn. Guests bid on silent auction items and held signs of support at a “Maui by Moonlight” photo booth. To celebrate Maui’s plantation history, pineapple and sugarcane were incorporated into the decorations and gourmet cuisine.
Ho‘okano shared his personal journey battling cancer with attendees. “Before Hope Lodge, my wife spent three weeks in a pull-out chair at the hospital,” he said Ho‘okano. “We didn’t have family on Oahu. We didn’t have much choice.”
He went on to share the healing process and how the facility brought the simple pleasures of a home-away-from-home. “The first thing I saw was a barbecue grill,” he said. “It had been six months since I cooked my own steak! It was Sunday and the church bells began to ring. I was happy. I survived six rounds of chemo and my steak was starting to sizzle.”
Ho‘okano’s story moved those attending the event. “When Robert spoke, the whole ballroom was silent you could hear a pin drop’” said event co-chair Tyson Miyake. “We were listening intently, touched by his every word, as if we were standing there with him through his experience.”
“We were all in tears,” added co-chair Raysha Mamala. “It goes to show how important Hope Lodge is. Proceeds from HopeFest helps hundreds of Hawai‘i cancer patients with a free place to stay so they don’t have to worry.”
The evening concluded with headline entertainment by Maui’s award-winning Napua Greig who sang songs from her new album Makawalu. Halau Na Lei Kaumaka O Uka also performed, and event co-chair Raysha treated the audience with an impromptu hula performance.
HopeFest continues to accept donations for Hope Lodge Hawaii. Visit Hopefestmaui.org or call 808-244-5554 to donate.
Photo courtesy Hopefest Maui