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Windward // Windward Oahu News
Steve Murray

Gala Turtle Bay Concert To Support Healing Ocean Mission

The winter swells bring more than just big surf to Koolauloa.

For the second straight year, GoPro and Mauli Ola Foundation (“breath of life”) will present a benefit concert at 6 p.m. Thursday at Turtle Bay Resort to raise money for its unique program – using surfing to help children with cystic fibrosis.

“This is our biggest event of the year, and we are getting huge support from the surfing world that is all out here for the Triple Crown,” said MOF executive director Hans Hagen. “This is our main source of raising money.”

The Green, Donovan Frankenreiter, Makua Rothman, Tapuarii Laughlin, Ernie Cruz Jr. and Tahiti Mana dance troupe will entertain at the event, which includes a gourmet buffet dinner (for VIP ticketholders) and silent and live auctions. Surf fans can browse and bid on items such as koa surf-boards, hand-shaped boards, a wood surfboard by C.J. Kanuha, art by Wyland and Heather Brown, and much more.

General admission is $50, and VIP tickets cost $200. Visit mauliola.org or purchase tickets at the resort’s Kuilima Ballroom. Doors open at 5 p.m. for VIP ticket buyers and table sponsors. Dinner is at 6 p.m. General admission guests can begin entering at 7 p.m.

Since 2007, the California-based MOF has taken nearly 1,300 young patients surfing. The organization has now extended its reach into hospitals to keiki who cannot make it to the beach.

Last year’s inaugural concert attracted some 700 attendees and helped raise $45,000 for the organization.

James and Charles Dunlap established MOF after discovering the ocean’s high saline content matched the medical treatments cystic fibrosis patients were receiving. The brothers also founded Ambry Genetics in 1999, and it was through their work mapping out the disease’s gene mutations that they discovered this connection.

The lifelong surfers determined that putting these afflicted keiki in the ocean would benefit them spiritually as well as physically.

“The physical activity helps their pulmonary function as well,” noted Hagen, “and to be under the guidance of the best surfers in the world makes the experience safe.”

Hawaii-based surfers who regularly donate their time are Sunny Garcia, Ezekiel Lau and Kalani Robb. Kala Alexander, who hosted a recent Haleiwa surf experience, is vice president of Hawaii’s MOF chapter. Kelly Slater also participates.

MOF sponsors 23 events regularly around the country, loading up a large bus to hit the road and visiting beaches and children’s hospitals along the way. All the major surf companies donate clothes, backpacks and other treats to each patient. Money raised at the concert supports related events, such as last week’s American Cancer Society experience at Bellows Beach Park.

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