The 7th annual Ko Olina Children’s Festival made its long-awaited return on May 20, 2023. More than 700 children and their families enjoyed a fun-filled evening on the beach at Ko Olina in support of an important cause.
The event raised $50,000 for the new Martha B. Smith Cancer & Infusion Center at Kapiolani Medical Center for Women & Children.
Today’s festival featured many family-friendly activities. Renowned street artist and Hawaii Walls founder Jasper Wong taught art lessons. Na Hoku Hanohano Award winner Kekoa Kane and Aulani’s Ohana Hula with Disney Friends got children moving and grooving. Not-for-profits Kuleana Coral Restoration, Malama Learning Center and the Bishop Museum taught the importance of coral reefs, native plants and cultural education. The festival concluded with a showing of Disney’s “Encanto” on the beach at sunset.
“The Ko Olina Children’s Festival was created to provide fun educational and performance platforms for our local keiki,” said Chynna Stone Showe, vice president of The Resort Group and board member for the Kapiolani Health Foundation. “I am humbled to see how our partnership with Kapiolani Medical Center for Women & Children has inspired such a rewarding event. Kapiolani plays a vital role in ensuring the well-being of Hawaii’s women, children and families, and we are grateful for our resort and community partners, corps of volunteers and especially our festival attendees who make this donation possible.”
The Ko Olina Children’s Festival was first launched as a fundraiser for Kapiolani in 2014. Since then, the event has raised nearly $400,000 for the only full-service children’s specialty medical center in the Pacific. Funds from previous festivals have helped Kapiolani build a new emergency triage room and supported the medical needs for the Neonatal and Pediatric Intensive Care units.
“The Ko Olina Children’s Festival is so important to our mission of creating a healthier Hawaii,” said Gidget Ruscetta, chief operating officer of Kapiolani. “It’s great to see the children enjoying themselves because of how the community comes together. There’s so much positive energy generated from this festival. We’re thankful to Ko Olina’s resort and community partners for bringing this back.”
The proceeds raised today will help Kapiolani expand its cancer care through the new cancer and infusion center. Each year, Kapiolani treats about 1,000 women and children who are diagnosed with cancer. Once complete, the center will offer state-of-the-art care for pediatric, breast and gynecologic cancers, as well as various other diseases and conditions, in an expanded area that will provide additional comfort for patients and enhance collaboration for the teams of physicians, nurses, specialists and staff who treat them.
Top photo (left to right): Dawn Dunbar, HPH senior vice president of philanthropy; Gidget Ruscetta, chief operating officer of Kapiolani Medical Center for Women & Children; Chynna Stone Showe, vice president of The Resort Group and Kapiolani Health Foundation board member; and Kapiolani cancer patient Cruz Bitanga and his father, Ed Bitanga.
Middle photo: A meet and greet with Kapiolani's Hospital Facility Dog, Ruby.
Bottom photo: Hula dancing with Disney characters Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse.