Kamehameha Schools was awash with pink in late October, from keiki and kumu to staffers and cityscapes. The burst of color was part of our “Pink for Pauahi” campaign to culminate Breast Cancer Awareness month.
Studies have shown that Native Hawaiian women have the highest incidence and mortality rates from breast cancer, which took the life of KS founder Ke Ali‘i Pauahi at the age of 52.
The Kamehameha ‘ohana took this time to honor Pauahi who courageously fought breast cancer in 1884, when few treatments for the disease existed.
Nā pua a Pauahi – Pauahi’s children – who have battled breast cancer, shared their powerful stories on KS social media and among our staffers spreading the word about healthy living, early detection, targeted treatment, and the road to recovery.
Mahalo piha to these brave Warriors in Pink for sharing their stories in an effort to help others:
“As an eight-and-a-half-year breast cancer survivor, broad awareness of breast cancer is critical to sharing the things we can do to help prevent this terrible disease, or at least detect it much earlier, which gives all of us a fighting chance. My platform for early detection is a call to action for every woman to perform self-exams on a regular basis. In my situation, the annual mammogram screening was not able to detect a lump in my breast. A routine self-exam led to immediate discovery followed by the start of a long journey of medical treatments. To all cancer survivors, ‘Ho‘omau’ and to all breast cancer survivors, I stand together with you as “Warriors in Pink.”
Janis Kane, KSK ’76 – KS Senior Director of HR Planning, Compensation and Benefits
“My hair started falling out shortly after I began my first chemotherapy session. I wore a wig at first, but it was too itchy and uncomfortable. Then, I found this inexpensive straw hat with a wide black band. I wore that hat everywhere. As it sat on my bald head, it provided warmth, comfort, style and protection from the wind, rain and sun. As I continue down the path of caring for my health, my hat for me has become a symbol of the love, support and compassion I received from my family, friends and KS ‘ohana throughout this ordeal.”
Crystal Kua, KSK '81 - Kamehameha Schools Senior Communications Specialist.
“You must be an advocate for your own health. Native Hawaiian women have the highest rate of mortality due to breast cancer because they don’t get diagnosed early. We as women need to empower ourselves and be our own best advocates.”
Vicky Holt-Takamine KSK ‘65 – PAʻI Foundation Founder and Executive Director
“Today the word ‘cancer’ doesn’t have to be as devastating as in the past. New technologies, pharmaceuticals, and individualized medicine have found ways to battle cancer like never before. But it does start with making sure you know what health and well-being mean to you. Having that ‘ike determines how you live your life and what you do to fulfill that. Ask yourself, if I had a cancer diagnosis, how would I live life differently? Does that match how you live your life now? I’m happy to have had the opportunity to re-evaluate life and prioritize what means the most to me.”
Dr. Diane Paloma, KSK '91 – Lunalilo Trust CEO
See photos of staffers, keiki, and parents sporting pink in this Pink for Pauahi photo gallery.
Six ways to reduce your risk of breast cancer
Perform Monthly Breast Self-Exams
Studies show that 40 percent of diagnosed breast cancers are detected by women who feel a lump, so establishing a regular breast self-exam is essential.
Get a Mammogram
Most women age 40 or older should get a mammogram and clinical breast exam every year. Talk to your doctor if you are at an increased risk or have a family history of breast cancer to get screened at an earlier age.
If you can, Choose to breastfeed exclusively for six months and continue when other foods are introduced.
Get 150 minutes of moderate or 75 minutes of vigorous activity each week. Strength train at least two days a week, and sit less.
If you drink, limit yourself to one alcoholic drink per day.
Stay Lean After Menopause
Maintain a healthy weight and a low amount of body fat, and eat a healthy diet.
To learn more about breast cancer, prevention, warning signs, treatment and survival, visit the Susan G. Komen website or the American Cancer Society website.