Role: Hawaii State Lead Ambassador
Hometown: Lihue, Hawaii
Years Volunteering for ACS CAN: 7
I started as a volunteer with the American Cancer Society about nine years ago and quickly learned about the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) and have been an advocate for the past seven years.
How did you first get involved with ACS CAN?
I was recruited by the State Lead Ambassador (SLA) at the time, sister Bernie Sakoda. Little did I know that she was hoping for me to follow in her footsteps and one day become a volunteer leader in our state. I started as an Ambassador and quickly jumped into a leadership role for my congressional district. A couple of years later Bernie’s plan came to fruition and I stepped into my current role as State Lead Ambassador which is the top leadership volunteer position my state.
How did you feel after that first meeting with a lawmaker?
It felt empowering to be face to face discussing an issue as close to my heart with someone I knew could impact important policy. These conversations were so important because they were helping to reduce the incidents of cancer here in Hawaii.
If someone said to you “ I am not a political person, why should I get involved?” What would your response be?
When I was asked to join ACS CAN I had reservations about advocacy as I thought it would mean getting involved in the political scene. I’ve come to realize is that this work is not really about politics but about a cause. We are advocates who are fighting to end cancer and this fight is non-partisan. Cancer touches all of our lives, including our lawmakers. Our work is to remind them how important cancer related policies are to all of their constituents.
What types of things do you do as a volunteer for ACS CAN?
As an ACS CAN volunteer, we do a lot of fun activities including tabling events around the islands to tell people about how to become advocates themselves. We give people the opportunity to speak to lawmakers and share their story with our annual Cancer Awareness Day. Another of my favorite activities is hosting webinars to share more about our strategies to fight cancer and news related to cancer policy.
Any Final Thoughts?
Being involved with ACS CAN really shows how a small group of people can make a huge difference to get us closer to ending cancer.