Olympic Night

Fundraiser helps make dreams of a lifetime.

Anela Kekino, Molokai Special Olympics Global Messenger, delivered her speech with genuine warmth to the appreciative crowd.

By Brandon Roberts 

They have won the 100 yard dash, shot the game winning hoop, and competed all over Hawaii and the Mainland. The Molokai Special Olympians are able to have memorable experiences, make life-long friends and have unique adventures.  

Thanks to the generosity of the Molokai community, from coordinators to donators, athletes and coaches, the Special Olympics provide opportunities where some may have seen none. 

The 4th Annual Special Olympics fundraiser held last Saturday at Hotel Molokai allows these Olympians to participate and enjoy a variety of sports while having experiences that will last a lifetime.

Anela Kekino is an athlete, and the new Molokai Global Messenger for the Special Olympics through the Athlete Leadership Program (ALPs). As a Global Messenger, Kekino will give speeches three times a year to educate the community as well as recruit athletes and volunteers.

Kekino has been with the Special Olympics ohana about four years and said she was chosen as a Global Messenger because she is not afraid to speak in public. Kekino feels privileged and will hold this position for the next two years.

Standing tall are the twins Cheyn and Christian Walker, who have been Olympians for five years and show their skills by participating in half a dozen different events. Having the opportunity to go off-island is one of these brothers’ favorite aspects of the Special Olympics program.

Rita Kalahiki has been involved in the Special Olympics program for about 24 years, and became the Molokai Special Olympics Area Assistant after the loss of her son 19 years ago. “Then I became a mother to the athletes,” Kalahiki said.

“To see the athletes’ smiles makes it all worth while” said Kalahiki, who ran a very successful fundraiser, with much mahalo to her dedicated coaches.          

The fundraiser utilized a silent auction, a lucky lotto, and a dinner-plate donation. The auction had many ono gift certificates that local businesses donated, beautiful works of art, and handmade crafts. The auction alone brought the Special Olympics $2,238. Lucky lotto ticket holders won t-shirts, coffee, straw hats and golf. 

Kalahiki was “pleased to be at Hotel Molokai” to have the wonderful food and service. The Hawaiian music and festive entertainment was also donated from Tania Will, Lyndon Dela Cruz, Earl Gorton and Bob Underwood.

The night was a big success, and the Special Olympics offers a heartfelt mahalo to all who donated and participated in the evening’s events.

To get involved, volunteer or find out about upcoming events, contact Rita Kalahiki at 808-567-9020 or by email at r_kalahiki@yahoo.com.


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