Story by Matthew Thayer
Maui toddler Daniel Perreira lost his battle with neuroblastoma, a rare form of childhood cancer, a week shy of his third birthday. The little boy with a winning smile passed away in 2002.
On Father’s Day, June 21, at Baldwin Beach Park, a quintessentially Maui-style event will honor Daniel and other children stricken with cancer. The Daniel Perreira Memorial Spearfishing Tournament pays them tribute while celebrating family unity, ocean awareness and stewardship.
Tournament director Brian Yoshikawa says the event started thirteen years ago as a fundraiser for the Hawai‘i Children’s Cancer Fund, and was renamed for his nephew Daniel in 2003. It’s become so popular, entry is by invitation only.
“I try to limit it to forty kids, but we usually end up with seventy to eighty,” Yoshikawa says. “And each child has a father in the water.”
That’s the important point for Yoshikawa: fathers and kids working together, dads sharing their knowledge and heritage with their kids.
Teams swim out at 7:30 a.m. and are back on shore by 11, where contestants weigh in their catch and are awarded prizes in front of a throng of spectators. Live music, good food, and a raffle on the beach are all part of this Maui tribute.
To donate, or for more information, email Yoshikawa at email@example.com.