LAHAINA - The feelings of sadness and loss filled the hearts of the Lahaina community in the passing of Elmarie Dagupion this year, as the 17-year-old succumbed to her battle with cancer.
Among those who mourned her death was Elmarie's classmate and friend, Kirsti-Ann Togashi.
To honor and remember her friend, Togashi decided to organize a charitable event as her senior project at Lahainaluna High School.
"As a requirement to organize a community event, I decided to organize a charity fishing tournament to raise money for the American Cancer Society," she explained.
"I chose a fishing tournament, because I have grown up fishing with my father (Kirk Togashi) that loves fishing and have experienced firsthand the family bonding time through this activity. And I have chosen the beneficiary of the event to be the American Cancer Society, because my friend and classmate, Elmarie Dagupion, recently lost a long, tough battle with cancer," she continued.
"The fishing tournament will take place in October since it is 'Breast Cancer Awareness Month,' and my mom and dad's mothers both lost their lives from breast cancer. It is a challenging task, but with the help of my family, my mentor Doug Stacy at West Maui Sports and Fishing Supply, local businesses/organizations and the people of Maui County, I believe we will make this event successful and a very memorable experience for the parents of Elmarie, the community and my family."
For the Elmarie Dagupion Memorial Fishing Tournament 2013, competition boundaries will be the island of Maui. Fishing begins at 8 a.m. on Friday, Oct. 25, and ends at noon on Sunday, Oct. 27. All registered fish must be at the official tournament scale no later than noon on Sunday.
The entry fee is $30 per angler; checks should be made out to the American Cancer Society for tax-deductible purposes. All money collected from entry fees and donations will go directly to ACS.
Weigh-in and an alcohol- and smoke-free awards ceremony will take place at the Kaanapali Sugar Cane Train Station.
There will be first to fifth place prizes awarded to the winners in two divisions: keiki ages 5-14 and adults ages 15 and above. The keiki division will award prizes for the largest edible fish, while the adult division will be for the largest ulua.
"All of the awards and prizes will be donated to the event courtesy of our local community, businesses and organizations... there will possibly be more winners as more prizes are donated," said Kirsti-Ann.
"Our thanks goes out to the donations that have already come in, like ulua poles, hotel stays, Maui Jim sunglasses, fishing supplies and much more!"
Registration forms and liability waivers - all kids must fish with adult supervision - will be available at West Maui Sports and Fishing Supply, Maui Sporting Goods and New Maui Fishing Supply. For more information, call (808) 385-3023.
"What a great idea this event is," said Stacy of West Maui Sports and Fishing Supply, Kirsti-Ann's senior project mentor and a key sponsor of the event along with Brian Yoshioka of Maui Sporting Goods/Lahaina Sportscasters.
"I commend Kirsti-Ann for taking on such a tremendous task. This is a great learning experience for her and is such a noble cause to benefit the American Cancer Society."