COOL DUDES: From left, Meister, Robb, Mamala, Charlie and Kanuha
“HEY, WHAT’S UP? Want to come to Hawaii and surf with us?” CJ Kanuha asked as he strode into Charlie Lapardo’s room on Ellison 18. “Sure!” the 8-year-old replied, grinning widely as Kanuha, along with fellow professional surfers Kealii Mamala, Kalani Robb and Torrey Meister, took turns offering high-fives. Although their numerous surfboards remained fastened to the top of their car outside of the MGH, the surfers came with hats, T-shirts, sunglasses and autographed posters to distribute to MassGeneral Hospital for Children (MGHfC) patients during their Aug. 27 visit to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit and Ellison 17 and 18.
This was the second annual visit by members of the Mauli Ola Foundation, a nonprofit group dedicated to introducing surfing as a natural treatment for people with cystic fibrosis. The organization has expanded its reach to include hospital visits across the country.
“Some kids can’t make it to the beach, so we come to visit them here,” Kanuha said. “We really like to come in and stoke the kids out and really just try to brighten up their days.”
And brighten their days is just what the group did – Mamala picked up a guitar in one patient’s room and belted out a Jack Johnson song; in another the group immediately sat on the floor of the playroom to talk to a shy 2-year-old. All the while, Kanuha shared his “aloha spirit,” taking the time to talk to the patients’ parents and inviting them to the Big Island of Hawaii for free surf lessons at his surf shop once their child was feeling better.
“Really,” he told them. “You’ll love it. Just look me up, and I’ll take you out.”
Read more articles from the 9/7/12 Hotline issue.