Wednesday, June 22, 2011

They made it! 2nd Annual Hilina'i's Walk is a success!

The walk started a few hours earlier this year (10:15pm), because we realized walking thru the night yielded cooler temperatures and hopefully meant for more sustained energy till the end. A group of about 20 family members and friends gathered to walk with Tommy from Hau'ula Elementary to Variety School of Hawai'i in Diamond Head. Energy was high, as excitement to start filled the country air. Under Armour donated a limited amount of bright yellow shirts (visible in the dark) for the walkers to wear...Thank you Under Armour! Tommy and a few of the veteran walkers from last year strategized over rest stops, and rest times, to try and cut down the length of the entire walk. Tommy's brother, Bu Heffernan, drove the escort vehicle this year, since I couldn't commit to the entire night-morning duration (because we're expecting:). Bu's truck carried all the survival basics like food, drinks, extra clothes and basic medical supplies.
The participants walked throughout the night battling blisters, sore muscles, and fatigue. The 20 mile walk from Hau'ula to Kane'ohe district park took about 7 hours. The team stopped for a quick breakfast of breakfast sandwiches and fresh corn bread made by our cousin, Renee. Likelike tunnel was described as the longest, most difficult part of the walk. The next stop would be Kamehameha Shopping Center. There, the participants were greeted with cold, refreshing drinks from Petals and Beans, a great coffee shop/florist near Ward. Thank you to Dennis and Wanda for your kind and generous donation of smoothies and teas! The team was now ready for the last leg of the walk thru town! Once the sun came up, you could see the fatigue set in for the walkers, they had been walking for over 10 hours at that point. The humidity was intense and the walkers trekked thru downtown Honolulu. Their last rest stop was at Washington Middle School, where they stretched with foam rollers, got a bite to eat and drink and moved on for the last 3-4 miles.
Amazingly, almost 80% of the people who started the walk, finished. Some had to leave for different reasons but their participation, commitment and heart is greatly appreciated and valued! I have never experienced such drive, and perseverance in the presence of such physical strain before. I am in awe of each of the participants of Hilina'i's Walk. Your love for our family, Hilina'i, and the families you represent will never be forgotten.
The group arrived at Variety School approximately 15 hours after they began (about the same amount of time as last year). We were greeted by Mr. Yee (Head of Variety School) and welcomed in. Tommy's mom and sister (Kalani) provided a food for everyone there...thank you so much!
Stay tuned for a list of Hilina'i's Walk 2011 participants! Including Tommy's dad, Tommy Sr. He just had open heart surgery 5 months ago and insisted on walking the entire walk. He started a few hours before the group and finished before they got to Kamehameha Shopping Center! Simply amazing!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Hilinaʻiʻs Walk 2011


We would like to start by saying thank you. Last year with your support we were able to raise enough funds to enroll Hilina’i into Variety School for the entire academic year. The progress she has made during the past year has been tremendous. Without your support this would not have been possible. Thank you for taking the time to help make a difference in our daughter’s life.

To see the progress she has made over the year has been incredible. The one area we can see the most difference is her speech development. In the past her vocabulary was very limited and she would stutter and hit herself in the head out of frustration when she could not communicate her thoughts and feelings to others. Today she is doing much better. With the services she is receiving at Variety she is able to communicate with others and express her thoughts and feelings in complete sentences. Her stuttering is gone and she does not hit herself out of frustration anymore. She is continues to surprise me with her vocabulary during our daily conversations on our way to school.

Her overall experience at Variety School has been great. Hilina’i loves her classmates, enjoys working with the teachers and therapists, and most importantly enjoys going to school everyday. I remember the first day we took her to school for observation. She was very hesitant about entering her new school. She clung to us and would not let go. We thought it would be a long day for all of us. But after only 15 minutes interacting with some of the teachers and therapist in the Physical Therapy room she was laughing and enjoying herself in her new setting. After the observation while we were walking to the car she grabbed my hand and said “daddy I love this school”. That sealed the deal.

We will continue to do whatever is needed to make sure she is able to attend Variety School and receive the services she needs.

Hilina’i continues to be driving force in our lives. Despite the daily challenges that come her way she never complains and continues to be a very loving and caring person. She is truly special, filled with love and compassion for others and is a shining light in our lives.

On Saturday June 18 we will be doing another walk for Hilina’i. The walk will be from Hau’ula Elementary to Variety school. All proceeds will go towards her special needs services and education at Variety. In addition, a donation will be made to help other children.

Hilina’i is our hero, our inspiration and motivation to be the best that we can be.

We would deeply appreciate any help promoting this event or donations. If you have any questions please contact us.

In Strength,

Tommy Heffernan

808 271 9060

Donations can be sent to:

Hilinaʻi Heffernan at 45-212 Makahio St. Kaneʻohe HI, 96744

or deposited at American Savings Bank "Friends of Hilinaʻi Heffernan"