On Saturday, September 19, 2009, a small group of staff & volunteers gathered at the Honolulu Corporate Office/Oahu Field Office in Nu’uanu to celebrate the 50th birthday of the American Cancer Society in Hawai’i. This celebration was also occasion to honor the Society’s first staff executive in Hawaii, Richard “Dick” Bunker, and the first Hawai’i volunteer to become National President of the American Cancer Society, Dr. Reginald Ho. National Board President, Dr. Terry Fontham, and National Board Chair, Van Wolf, were also in attendance.
Several volunteers were recognized for their outstanding service, including Jean “Jonsie” Yamamoto, recipient of the 2009 Volunteer of the Year award.
Volunteer Of The Year
“Cancer Can’t Stop Faithful Volunteer,” was the headline (Honolulu Advertiser, July 30, 2007). Jean “Jonsie” Yamamoto’s remarkable story began years before she had cancer. She signed up to volunteer door-to-door in her community to seek donations for the American Cancer Society. Now she is also known as the “Fruitcake Lady.” As a thank-you to her generous neighbors, Jean bakes fruitcakes cduring the holidays, fills a wagon and delivers them on Christmas Day. She has been doing this from 1991-2009. In her own words, “This year I had to sort of rush ’cause I was due for yet another cancer surgery (4th bout!!)… I go for chemotherapy every other week for a total of 12 sessions.” Jean has kept detailed records of the donations she has received from her neighbors, family members and friends. In 1991 she collected $322. This year her husband, Eugene, delivered to ACS checks totaling $2929. Jean provided us a year-by-year account of her collected donations over the past 19 years. The grand total was $23,880.
This year’s recipient of the Sunrise Award, Nancy Tanita, demonstrates that hope is beautiful. Nancy volunteers to work with patients, and is a leader in the Look Good…Feel Better® program. Nancy raises community awareness about this Society program, and is a knowledgeable resource for others. The Look Good…Feel Better® program–a collaboration among the American Cancer Society, Personal Care Products Council Foundation, and National Cosmetology Association–celebrates its 20th birthday this year.
Terese Lasser Award
This year’s recipient of the Terese Lasser Award is Lynda Messier from Waianae. Reach to Recovery matches trained and certified volunteer visitors, themselves breast cancer survivors, to women newly-diagnosed with breast cancer for the purpose of information and support. This award is named for Terese Lasser who following her own breast cancer diagnosis in 1952, began the Reach to Recovery program, adopted by the American Cancer Society in 1969. This year, Reach to Recovery is celebrating its 40th birthday with the Society.
Dr. Reggie Ho Quality of Life Award in Collaborative Cancer Care
The recipients of this first-year award are the patient navigators with the Queen’s Health System, from both the Queen’s Medical Center and Moloka`i General Hospital. Your staff partners, Lani Almanza for Honolulu and Anna Mayeda for Maui, Moloka`i and Lana`i, are proud and appreciative of all you do in partnership with the American Cancer Society.
Molokai General Hospital The Queen’s Medical Center
Liliana Napoleon Andrea Wilburn
Haunani Kamakana Jocelyn Nishioka
Avelina Ponce Laurene Donesley
This event would not have been possible without the generosity of sponsors and individual donations. Mahalo nui loa to our volunteers, friends, and staff for their support & dedication to the American Cancer Society!