Making Strides Against Breast Cancer: The Morning We Started with Hope Divina Telan Robillard
Honolulu, HI, October 22, 2022. This was going to be the first time PNAH would be joining American Cancer Society’s “Making Strides Against Breast Cancer,” the ritual of hope that is staged every October to celebrate Breast Cancer survivors and thrivers. We weren’t expecting a big crowd from PNAH particularly since another more popular event was going on at the same time at the Hilton, honoring the new officers of Hawaii Nurses Association, led by Executive Director Dr. Nancy Atmospera-Walch which offered 4-CE credits. The day started in a kind of gloomy, overcast pall as my small group of four drove out over the Pali, anticipating the same weather conditions on the other side. Thankfully, at the bottom of the Pali, the sun was gamely forcing its way out of the gray clouds.
Joe Jacob said it was still dark clocking in first before 6 am, when the program started with a Jazzercise warm-up. We got there on time for the walk to begin at 7 but wanted to wait for Tina Fernandez and Emilyn Ramones who were on their way. Tick, tock, tick, tock. Our small crowd getting antsy, we decided to start moving out and following the bulk of the participants who were already out of sight.
It was a pleasant morning start to the walk, not too cold, not too warm. Joe outpaced my family by far, so he would double back to join us, and then moved out again! We were happy to go at the pace our furbaby, Tofu, set for us which was going through an undetermined path, going around puddles and stopping to sniff here and there.
At the turn outside the gate, we spied Community Outreach Committee chair Tessie Oculto being driven into the park by her son. She called out to us to say, she would wait at the finish line, so we waved her along.
It didn’t take long for us to sashay our way to halfway the mile the walk was set out to be. We met the bulk of the attendees who started out on time, on their way back. Grabbing a cup of water each, we turned around then, calling it pau for our five-member “Fil-Am Nurses Kami!” team. Six, if counting our spirited Jack-Chi, who spent a considerable amount of time sniffing his way along the sidewalk and emitting low growls at canines like himself!
We were about to turn into the park when on our left, we caught Emilyn and Tina, in mid-stride and mid-guffaw. Happy that we found each other, they turned around with us. In a few steps, we met Tessie and son, waiting for us just before the tall balloon FINISH line. We all walked through it, amidst the cheers of those in the sidelines. Each of us also received a pink balloon-twist hat symbolizing our having “finished” our walk, in tribute to those who have gone/are going through the challenges of breast Cancer.
All in all, despite our late entry into the fundraising event, we surpassed our goal of $500, thanks to determined donors led by ED Dr. Nancy Walch, PNAH President Cielito Matias-Schwartz, and President-elect Marianela Jacob. Our total donation was $705.50: not bad for first-timers!
At the end of the day, we all said we were doing this again next year, in honor of those in PNAA/PNAH whose lives were touched by Breast Cancer.
And the day that we started with hope, we ended in IHop(e), thanks to a hearty post-walk treat by CO Chair, Tessie Oculto!!!