Mauli Ola Kicks off Cystic Fibrosis Awareness...
Mauli Ola Kicks off Cystic Fibrosis Awareness Month at Churches Beach
Mauli Ola Foundation began its 2012 Surf Experience Day and Children’s Hospital tour on May 5, 2012 with the Gavin Beschen Surf Experience Day at Churches Beach in San Clemente, California. Located at Camp Pendleton Marine Base near San Diego, Churches Beach hosted a Mauli Ola Surf Experience Day event for the second year in a row. The rocky beach at Churches is located on San Diego’s bay, offering calmer waters that are ideal for young novice surfers.
“The bay offers a great beginner wave,” explains Mauli Ola Surf Experience Director, Bobby Serna, “not very intimidating at all, and it’s got a nice long ride which is ideal for these kids who are just learning how to surf.” One occupational hazard of the bay is its rocky cobblestone bottom, and according to Bobby Serna, “A lot of the surfing pros sacrificed their own comfort and got cut up feet for the kids.” On the upside, the bay area at Churches Beach did offer a private and reclusive setting with easy beach access for the seventeen young Cystic Fibrosis patients and their families who attended the event.
Pro-surfer, Gavin Beschen, was honored as the namesake of the Churches Beach Surf Experience Day event, and he flew in from Hawaii to be a part of the festivities. “Gavin, Josh Baxter and Kala Alexander gave some outstanding surf instruction to these kids, with surf rides as long as a football field,” states Bobby Serna.
Conditions at Churches Beach were sunny with the water still a bit cold from the winter and spring months, but that didn’t stop any of the kids who were there to learn how to surf. “Everyone got out there and surfed for hours. They’d come in for a rest and go right back out there,” recalls Bobby Serna. One child, in particular, has made great strides in keeping his CF symptoms at bay, thanks to surfing. According to Serna, “Little Michael picked up surfing a couple of summers ago at one of our surf days and he now goes [surfing] all the time. He was out there getting some long rides with Gavin Beschen.” In describing how Michael’s overall health has improved from his surfing hobby, Serna continues, “He hadn’t been to the hospital once in 2011, and not one infection!” Michael was at the Churches beach event with his parents and four siblings, three of whom also have Cystic Fibrosis.
Two days after the Churches Beach Surf Experience Day at Camp Pendleton, Mauli Ola Foundation headed up to Northern California in preparation for the Shawn “Barney” Barron MOF Surf Day at Santa Cruz. Staff and volunteers also visited four distinguished children’s hospitals in the area. Children’s Hospital Central California, Children’s Hospital & Research Center Oakland, Lucille Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford and UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital were all on the official MOF tour schedule.
At the Children’s Hospital Central California in Madera, Mauli Ola Community Outreach Director, Kalani Robb, gave the pediatric patients “cool dude” gift boxes complete with: sunglasses, Flexfit MOF coloring art hats and MOF T-shirts. Surf Director Bobby Serna recalls how the gifts lifted one patient’s spirits. “One of the patients, after being in the playroom drawing on her Flexfit hat, was being wheeled out of the playroom wearing her Flexfit art hat, her shades and her “cool dude” t-shirt. As she was being wheeled out she said, ‘I’m better now!’ It was very touching to hear her say that.”
Children’s Hospital & Research Center at Oakland also left a profound impression on the Mauli Ola staff with Serna explaining, “There was a lot of pride among the staff for the level of care they offer their patients. They don’t turn a sick child away who doesn’t have the money to pay. They take everyone, and it made us proud to be there. We’ll be visiting for years to come.”
Mauli Ola was also proud to pay a visit to UCSF Children’s Hospital, a leading hospital in cancer treatment. Lucille Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford University was also an important stop along the tour. “It was nice to be at such a prestigious institution,” states Serna. “Stanford has a long history of great medical care with more lung transplants performed than at any other hospital in the nation.”
To date, all of the events along Mauli Ola Foundation’s tour schedule have been equally rewarding and satisfying for staff and volunteers. When asked about tour highlights, Serna explains, “The stand-out moments are always watching these kids having a blast, and their families having a blast watching their kids interact and surf with the some of the world’s best professional surfers.”
Visit www.mauliola.org for more information about Mauli Ola Foundation’s 2012 Surf Experience Day events and their pediatric Hospital visitation tour.