Meet your volunteer Debbie Kenui – Finish the Fight Friday 09/26/2014

Kenui volunteer for American Cancer Society

Relay for Life 2014 – My Sisters Cheryl Dias and Brenda Kenui and our ‘ohana

There is one thing I never imagined in life…that I would leave my career to become a stay-at-home mom at the age of 50. All my life, I had been considered one of those over-achiever types, a work horse that never stopped.  Everything seemed complete with a career and a family. Well my life took a complete detour…not once, but twice when I was diagnosed with early stage breast cancer in 2003 and then again with stage three breast cancer in 2009.  I remember feeling so lost and alone after my first bout of cancer and wanted to put this ordeal behind me. In 2009, things changed. I felt an outpouring of love and support from my family, friends, and church community. Their support helped me get through some really tough times. I truly believe that their support made a huge difference for me and encouraged me to press on until I crossed the finish line to again become a cancer survivor.

Celebrated my 50th birthday March 2014 Son, Michael, Husband, Milton, Sr., Me, Son, Marcus, Son, Milton, Jr., Granddaughter Leah and Daughter-in-Law Natasha Ann

Celebrated my 50th birthday March 2014
Son, Michael, Husband, Milton, Sr., Me, Son, Marcus, Son, Milton, Jr., Granddaughter Leah and Daughter-in-Law Natasha Ann

I knew at that moment, that I wanted to help others cross their finish lines, too. Now I live with a purpose in life to serve others. I left my career to live a simple life being a stay-at-home mom and an active volunteer in my community. I am a greeter at my Church, a volunteer with Hui Malama Ola Na Oiwi, and am involved with the Hope Lodge facility, Reach to Recovery program, and serve as an ACS Days volunteer with the American Cancer Society.  Being an ACS days volunteer gives me an opportunity to work closely with cancer patients to find the resources or services they need and deserve. Most of all, it is to give them a sense that they are not alone on this journey and that we are here to cheer them on to the finish line. I am so thankful God gave me the strength to persevere through the toughest challenge of my life to begin a new life,  making a difference in this crazy world that we live in.

In Other News:
Debbie Kenui StridesMaking Strides Against Breast Cancer is coming up a week from Saturday. If you have not already, sign up for the walk and come play on Oct. 4!  Come meet Debbie and our other Portraits of Hope, Lylia, Leimomi, Lucrecia and Vanderla.

Making Strides Against Breast Cancer is a celebration of survivorship an occasion to express hope and our shared determination to make this breast cancer’s last century.

The fight to end breast cancer starts with a single step. Join millions of people in more than 300 communities nationwide and take that step with us at the American Cancer Society Making Strides of Honolulu walk.

Meet Your Staff Partner Patti Ornellas – Finish the Fight Friday 09/19/2014

Patti getting ready for Kauai Relay for LifeComing to the American Cancer Society was a long journey. I had worked in the tourism industry from 1989 to the present in various capacities, but primarily Front Of House operations and Homeowner Assistance. My mom, Felisa Ragasa, found out she had breast cancer in 1981. By 1984, her cancer had spread through her bones and she passed away in July of that year. My sister Melissa and I decided seven years ago to form a team in honor of my mom, Team Fely’s Angels, at our Relay For Life.  We also honor the family and friends of our team members who have passed on, or who are survivors.  Specifically, my mother-in-law who passed away in February 1990 from a cancerous brain tumor and brother-in-law who passed away two months later in May 1990 from leukemia.

Four years ago I was approached by Millie Curtis of the Kaua’i American Cancer Society office to join her Relay For Life Committee as the Sponsorship and Underwriting Chair which was my first “volunteer” experience.

The past two years, I co-chaired the event and this year, stepped up as the Event Chair. As I became more and more involved and began to see the “bigger” picture of the purpose of the efforts of American Cancer Society, my paPatti at Relay for Life Kauai American Cancer Societyssion for eliminating cancer grew stronger and I was very proud to say I was a Volunteer. When the opportunity came up to be a part of this organization as a staff partner, I thought what a better way to continue my efforts than to actually become a part of this organization to make a difference.


I feel blessed, honored, motivated and enthusiastic and look forward to my time working with the American Cancer Society.


Here are some of the events Patti is working on with Your American Cancer Society.

Relay For Life of Kauai

Bark For Life of Kauai

Relay For Life of North Shore Hanalei Bay


When 15 Miles Can Save a Life – Finish the Fight Friday 9-12-14 (Two days early!!)

Road to Recovery Honolulu Hawaii Pacific American Cancer SocietyHow close are we to a cure for cancer? In some cases only about 15 miles. You can give someone the ride of their life by volunteering to become a Road to Recovery® driver. This volunteer opportunity is often on an as-needed basis and works with a variety of schedules. To find out more please contact Christine Hinds at our Honolulu office. christine.hinds at

Last year in Hawaii, our network of volunteer drivers provided 196 cancer patients more than 2,956 rides to cancer-related treatments and appointments through our Road To Recovery® program. Additionally, we offered 449 patients vendor transportation assistance when no volunteers where available in a community or the distance was too great, such as traveling to another island.


Or you can read more about Road to Recovery here.

Other ACS News:

Marisha Artero 40 under 40 Guam Business Magazine ACS Hawaii Pacific

Marisha Artero of our Gaum office was named one of Guam’s 40 under 40. Congratulations to Marisha. From Guam Business Magazine, “As co-leader of the Tobacco-Control Action Team, Artero led advocacy efforts toward the successful passage of two laws that established a tax parity for smokeless tobacco products and that prohibit the sale of electronic cigarettes to customers under 18. She is a team leader for the Survivorship and Quality Life Action Team of the Guam….” Continue Reading on the Guam Business Magazine site.




West Hawaii Cancer Symposium

This past weekend’s seventeenth annual West Hawaii Cancer Symposium comes to us by the hard work of its organizer, Hawaii Pacific Board President, Dr. Daryl Kurozawa.  High Plains Executive Vice President, Danny Ingram, participated for his first year.  The Symposium provides Continuing Medical Education for Hawaii and mainland practitioners. The Four Seasons Hualalai Resort and its employees put on four fundraising events in conjunction with the conference from Friday through Sunday, with proceeds to benefit both ACS and the UH Cancer Center.  Highlights included the Taste of Hawaii dinner fundraiser, both tennis and golf fundraisers, the Race for Hope 5K and 10K runs, and the Hope canoe filled with orchids of remembrance to be floated out to sea.  Thank you to Beau, Christine H., Anna, Sancie and Erin and her husband, Juan, for staffing these events, and a special mahalo to the Four Seasons Hualalai and staff for their dedication to this cause.

West Hawaii Cancer Symposium American Cancer Society

West Hawaii Cancer Symposium