not just another way of training

as some of you may know, i am spending sometime on Maui. it was to be an escape, a diversion, and an avoidance of everyday life, or so i thought.

my stay here has been anything but a distraction. being here has challenged my capacity in handling fears, coping with insecurities and facing the uncertainty of my future.

paddling with the “Pink Ladies” is all that combined with the added gift of the “aloha spirit”.

Mana`olana, Paddle for Hope, or the Pink Ladies is a program sponsored by the Pacific Cancer Foundation, designed to promote breast cancer awareness, and to show women that there is life after cancer.

i have been paddling with these women for about a month. we meet mornings and evenings. the group is made up of cancer survivors, a few having survived cancer more than once, and caregivers such as nurses, doctors and the hospital Chaplain. we are coached with compassion by an experienced and talented woman, Ellen. we are blessed by an Elder who shares with us his knowledge and love for the ocean, land and sky and the Hawaiian culture.

i could go on and on in full detail though a short description will do. we show up at 645 am with pink tops on, hugs all around, a blessing from Uncle Kimokeo, carry the canoe to the sea, start paddling and soon we are all in unison moving forward.

yes moving forward not running away.

i am matching my Pan Mass Challenge donations so far ($600, thank you all!) by donating to the Mana’olana Maui to Molokai voyage, a 23-mile paddle in two 6-person canoes with assist boats. about 20 women will participate and I will be one of those blessed women. we have to jump out of the canoe and swim to the assist boats to change crew but that is a whole other story.

thank you all for listening, caring and helping.


aloha means much more than a simple hello and goodbye, it implies everything that happens in between a hello, a goodbye and the next hello. Aloha in the Hawaiian language means affection, love, peace, compassion and mercy.



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2 responses to “not just another way of training

  1. Heather,
    You are a rock star!

  2. Anela Gutierrez

    It was such a pleasure to paddle with you. Just as Caprice said “You are a rock star!”. I will be missing your smiling face and positive energy in the wa’a. A hui hou ’til this fall.

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