Pacific NW News

Hawai`i News

Hawaiian History
Hana Ho`omake`aka
Laugh Corner
Kama`aina Profile
Where in the World?
Nā Mana`o Ulu Wale
I kēlā me kēia mana`o
Photo Gallery
From the Editor
About Us
Contact Us
September 2007

Pacific Northwest News

Winter Pineapple Classic -- The Cox Story

By Caroline Goles

Team MoosPack (wearing grass skirts and carrying pineapples) race through the course at Magnuson Park in Seattle in last year's Winter Pineapple Classic to raise money fot the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society

The Winter Pineapple Classic is an outdoor run challenging teams of two or four to complete a 5K multi-terrain obstacle course. The run takes place at Warren G. Magnuson Park in Seattle and is a fundraising event for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

This event started as a wild idea of Seattle local, Eric Cox, as a vibrant way to drive cancer awareness. But, as many of these inspired events do, the genesis of the Pineapple lies in a family’s experience with the disease.


In February 2005 Eric’s wife, Dipti, was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer. Barely time to reconcile the news, Dipti began an intensive 6 month chemotherapy protocol at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance.

Halfway through Dipti’s treatment their young son Brody started showing signs of illness. In early July, just one week after his second birthday, Brody was diagnosed with leukemia.

The months that followed were full of tests, treatments, x-rays, painful procedures and long hospital stays. Cancer quite literally overtook every aspect of their lives. Eric shuttled between Seattle Cancer Care Alliance and Children’s Hospital, digesting medical textbooks and creating treatment charts, while Dipti and Brody endured the worst torture chemotherapy can deliver.

Seven long months after cancer first took hold, both Dipti and Brody had been through the worst that chemotherapy had to offer. While both still had a long road of treatment in front of them, the Cox family decided it was time to focus on something other than cancer.

A Light Emerges

The Cox family and friends joined the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Light The Night event. Eager to do something positive with their experience they formed “Team Brody” and went on a fundraising offensive. Over one hundred strong, “Team Brody” raised $45,000 in just three weeks.

Shortly after this triumph, cancer reclaimed the spotlight and the Cox’s braced for another punishing round. Dipti completed her chemo in early September and underwent surgery to remove the tumors in October, then endured another eight weeks of radiation. At the same time, October and November brought more intensive chemotherapy cycles for Brody.

Sometimes A Great Notion

The strength they derived from their work with LLS would remain with them and Eric began to think of even greater opportunities to bring awareness to the cause and new ways to fund a cure. During a long-awaited family holiday in Hawaii, he hatched an audacious plan – a Hawaiian-themed athletic challenge. An event that would be a bit different than most and something presenting more of a challenge than the typical fun run. An event which would bring a bit of Hawaii’s aloha spirit to Seattle just as the rains of winter began to set in. And so, the Winter Pineapple Classic was born.

The Winter Pineapple Classic

With the participation of REI, Georgetown Brewing Company, 95.7 KJR FM, OutdoorsNW, and Sellen Construction, a small band of volunteers and LLS went about the work of making The Winter Pineapple Classic a reality. The Inaugural Pineapple event of November 11, 2006 saw over 750 participants navigate a multi-terrain obstacle course at Seattle’s Warren G. Magnuson Park. The event raised over $80,000 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

It is Eric’s goal to establish the Winter Pineapple Classic as one of the premiere athletic events in Seattle and a lighthouse fundraising event to fight cancer for years to come. The second annual Winter Pineapple Classic will be held on November 3, 2007 at Warren G. Magnuson Park in Seattle, with a goal of raising $150,000.

Cox Family Postscript

Today both Dipti and Brody are in remission and are now getting back to normal lives as mother and son. Brody will continue in his maintenance chemotherapy treatments for another 18 months, but one would never recognize it as he runs around the park with the rest of his pre-school class. The Cox family, like many, continues to live with cancer. But their experience has given rise to a mission and purpose; through the Winter Pineapple Classic, drive the funds that deliver a cure.

For additional information about the event, the Cox story, or how your can help, please contact Caroline Goles (206.851.5234) or Denise Cugini (206.300.9416) or visitwww.winterpineappleclassic.com.


Pipeline Helps Isle Athletes Reach Dreams
Coos Bay soccer kicks in to Hawai`i’s heavy talent pool

By Duane Shimogawa

It's called pipeline and I'm not talking about the famous surfing spot on O`ahu's north shore. Instead, it's something that's been growing like a south swell -- island athletes heading to the mainland to continue playing sports, while getting an education. They're all over the place from Boston to Coos Bay, Oregon. And they all have one thing in common: A coach with Hawai'i ties at that mainland school.

Cole Brandeburg

Coos Bay is home to the highly competitive Southwestern Oregon Community College (SWOCC) soccer teams. Former Kaua`i High School standout Cole Brandeburg wanted to play soccer at the next level after graduating a few years ago. He felt that if he stayed home and went to one of the colleges in Hawai`i, he would lose sight of his dream of playing collegiate soccer. "Not only did I feel not ready to play for colleges at home, I wanted to get away to experience other parts of the United States and that's why I chose SWOCC," he said. "I knew that I would be able to hone my skills at the community college level and maybe someday realize my dream as a coach."

And that he did. After he was done scoring goals, he nailed down his biggest goal yet -- a spot on the Lakers' coaching staff. "They asked me to help out after I graduated," he said. "Then I started helping out everyday and they liked the connection I made with the players, so they hired me as an assistant coach. I was stoked."

Not long after, he has been able to bring numerous isle athletes to come and realize their dreams of playing collegiate soccer as well. He's also brought in Tamalyn Hasegawa, a Kaua`i standout goalie, to play on the women's team. "I knew there were a few people playing soccer there from Hawai'i, but when I heard about Cole, it made my decision a lot easier," she said.

Jordon Dizon

But the pipeline doesn't only flow through soccer, it's at other sports as well. The Colorado University football team has been known to recruit heavily from Hawai`i. The main reason for the influx of islanders in Boulder is Brian Cabral, a former St. Louis School and current Buffalo assistant coach. He brought in players from all of the islands, but his most-prized recruit Jordon Dizon, a former Waimea HS (Kaua`i) multi-sport star. Dizon is a senior this year and is a shoe-in for a steady NFL career. When June Jones and University of Hawai`i failed to land Dizon, it became apparent that mainland colleges are high on island recruits' wish list for continued education.

Just north at the University of Montana-Western, another St. Louis School graduate, Tommy Lee is brewing a steady pipeline, bringing players from the Aloha State to the Treasure State. Lee is a native of Honolulu, Hawai`i. He is a 1963 graduate of Williamette College (now University) where he earned All-American honors as a quarterback. After his collegiate career, he played one year in the Canadian Football League with the Ottawa Rough Riders. His coaching career began where his playing career began, St. Louis High School. Just this year, Lee recruited 24 players from Hawai`i, which is by far the most from any state, including Montana, where the team resides.

Coach Tommy Lee

Many mainland coaches without Hawai`i ties are also starting to realize that island athletes are talented enough to make the jump to the next level. Some I talked to said it's an untapped resource and a hidden gem. But all said that they now take a look at what Hawai`i has to offer.

Recent successes like Iolani's Derek Low, who's a star guard on the Washington State men's basketball team and Dizon on the Colorado football squad show everyone around the country that with or without a pipeline to mainland colleges, Hawai`i student-athletes have arrived.

"We can play with the rest of the country," Dizon said. "We come from humble beginnings and hard working families, so we know how it feels to put in the work and see the fruits of our labor."

Duane Shimogawa Jr.
P.O. Box 2214
Kalispell, MT 59901
(808) 482-0829


Life is...Hula

By Leona Lueders

Leona Lueders, a graduate of the Kamehameha Schools, shares with us what hula means to her. Leona belongs to hālau Keala O Kamailelauili`ili`i in Federal Way, Washington and has written other stories for Northwest Hawai`i Times about Hawaiian traditions.

Hālau is located in Federal Way. 'Olelo (Hawaiian language) class is on Monday evening, followed by 'oli (chanting) class. Tuesday is reserved for beginners, followed by the advanced. On Wednesday evenings the "babies" come. They range in age from about 7-12 years old. The kane (men) come in after them. Thursday's class is comprised of the core group of performing dancers.

Kamaile is kumu. His knowledge of things Hawaiian including being fluent in 'olelo makes me feel as though he is an OLD HAWAIIAN SOUL. He has been immersed in HULA. To us, he is a living Hawaiian Treasure. He can go HOME and talk with the old folks, he understands the old ways, the old place names, what they mean and what happened there, AND he knows the old music.

Our hula season begins in spring, at hula camp. It is an entire weekend of HULA, grueling, to your body and your mind. Usually you learn a couple of kahiko, a couple of 'auwana and add these mele to the repertoire. Mornings begin at the tables in discussion of the mele, the meaning, along with what costumes, colors and lei would be appropriate to the period of the piece. We learn that royalty could take a mele and make it their own, whether they composed it or not. We also learn that many times a person would be known for singing a mele, and people would falsely believe that it was written by that person. There is a "craft" class of Hawaiian lei making, quilting, hula implements, or basic sewing.

We are privileged to have LIVE MUSIC every time we dance. Kamaile's voice is superb, Hawaiian mele are archived in his brain. Even after we leave halau, his ONE VOICE, echoes in our minds. Uncle Earl harmonizes and plays the guitar for 'auwana and Auntie Sweetie sings while playing "Hinano", the name for the stand up bass. We don't press play and dance to tapes or CD's, though many of us use digital voice recorders or video to go home and practice! When asked to dance, people usually just want the first verse and a ha'ina. With Kamaile you can dance all verses!

Auntie Sweetie takes care of everything. She schedules, writes newsletters, always making sure we have what we need to run the hālau. I don't know how she keeps up with everything. She is the most amazing force of the hālau.

Each year our "dancing out" gigs begin at Lōkahi Ho'olaulea in the spring. After that performance we move to the concert schedule at the Green River Community College. Last year we performed with Nā Palapalai and Augie T.  This year it  was Melveen Leed and Ho'okena.  We went to Folklife in Seattle and before that was a party for the Old Soldier's American Veterans’ group. It will be like this for the entire summer and into fall. In July we sponsor our Mai Kahiki Mai hula competition. During the spring and summer we also get ready for competition in Long Beach, California at E Hula Mau the end of August and through Labor Day and after that we regroup for the fall hula camp.

For students there is homework, hula practice, extra practice and a lot of reading and research. This year the 'oli class is students are haku mele for our presentation at E Hula Mau. It was a nerve wracking and personally draining experience for all of us individually and as a group. English is our first language. To put a story down on paper in 'olelo and find the mele in us was quite an experience. Some of us found we had a real talent for this. Others of us garnered a lot of help from Kamaile.

As we await an invitation to the Merrie Monarch Competition, we work to improve our Hula. It is more than just the dance, it is OHANA, it is the music, the vessel that keeps our language and culture in existence as the number of Hawaiians dwindles. We take the responsibility to learn and to pass it on. Although we are busy working, raising families, helping with grandchildren, Hula is Life, our culture lives on...

Click here for more Pacific Northwest News

Copyright © 2004-2009 by Northwest Hawai`i Times
All Rights Reserved