Why We Wear Leis: Ohana Means Family

Ohana Means Family

Ohana Means Family 2013

Ohana Means Family 2013

Participating in the LA Cancer Challenge has quickly become an annual tradition for our family.  Ohana Means Family was formed in the fall of 2012 just before the passing of my grandmother, Kay Shimizu.  She was active in the community throughout her life and was probably the most selfless person I know.  She volunteered at the Senior Nutrition Program at the Venice Japanese Community Center for over 25 years.  She also participated in ikebana (flower arrangement), craft class, and much more.  Most of all she will always be remembered for her cooking.  Whether it was a full spread of Japanese cuisine on New Year’s Day or a quesadilla after school, grandma showed her love through her cooking.


When our team started out we weren’t sure how many people would join or donate.  But we were pleasantly surprised when we recruited 25 team members and raised over $4,600 in our first year.  In 2013 we had 27 members and raised over $5,800.  We walk/run to remember our loved one, to show support for people who are currently struggling with this disease, and to raise pancreatic cancer awareness in our community.  Most importantly the LA Cancer Challenge is a time each year that our family can get together, reconnect and remind ourselves the true meaning of ohana.  Now we can also call the Hirshberg Foundation part of our ohana.  I cannot say how appreciative we are of all of the encouragement we get from the staff and volunteers on the day of the event as well as throughout the year.

~Jayme Heyl, 2013 Team Captain

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