Story by Starr Begley
Most Maui tourists go home ailing of nothing worse than a peeling nose and jet lag. Not so Meryl Cohen, who discovered she had thyroid cancer during a CAT scan after a boogie-boarding accident.
That was in 2006. A year later, Cohen moved to Kihei and joined Mana‘olana (the name is Hawaiian for “hope”), a support group of women cancer survivors who paddle in pink to raise awareness of the disease.
Using canoes on loan from Kihei Canoe Club, the group did so well at an April 4 regatta, these “Pink Paddlers” will soon take on a more ambitious goal: a two-day voyage to raise funds for the Pacific Cancer Foundation, in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
The women have been training for the sixty-mile event since June. On October 17, they’ll paddle from Ka‘anapali to Lana‘i, camp overnight at Manele Bay, then circle the island before returning home.
“Paddling gives us something to work for and to focus on,” says Cohen, who has been cancer free for a year. “There are women in the group [who] are still fighting cancer. Getting out into the water is the best thing for them.”
For more information, or to donate, visit www.pacificcancer foundation.org or call 243-2999.