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presented by the American Lung Association

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I Wear Turquoise

I Wear Turquoise

Overcoming COVID-19 and Leading the Way to Lung Health

Meet Our Men

Overcoming COVID-19 and Championing Lung Health with Aloha

The I Wear Turquoise (IWT) campaign is an opportunity to imagine a world free of lung disease and raise awareness and funds to support research for better treatments and improved methods of early detection for lung disease. In 2020, the campaign is focused on funding our COVID-19 Action Initiative.

In American Lung Association’s pursuit to ensure lung health for all, its research funding is hard at work during this outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). A recent discovery is showing great promise for a potential vaccine. For more information on this campaign, please visit our FAQ’s section.


The IWT campaign is part of our LUNG FORCE initiative. Launched 5 years ago, LUNG FORCE is a nationwide initiative led by the American Lung Association to unite women and men to stand together against lung cancer. Because of recent developments of COVID-19, we are using our LUNG FORCE brand to raise awareness and funds for our newly developed COVID-19 Action Initiative.

Please Meet Our Ambassadors

Our Turquoise Ambassadors are leaders across Hawaii joined in raising awareness and funds for the COVID-19 Action Initiative and its goals through the IWT campaign.

  • Mimi Beams

    Mimi retired from Inkinen and Associates after 6 years as an executive search consultant. Since then, she provides thoughtful consulting and has found her path in serving the community in several ways, including serving on various boards. Mimi is raising funds for the Lung Association because she understands we are in exceptional times, which includes a significant attack to our lungs. Read more

    Make a donation

  • Valerie Davison

    Valerie manages Hawai‘i Health at Work Alliance (HH@WA), a UHA company and is a National Wellness Institute Certified Worksite Wellness Program Manager and Certified Worksite Wellness Specialist. Valerie was inspired to help the Lung Association for her sister, Eleanor Grace, who passed away from non-small cell lung cancer.Read more

    Make a donation

  • Cathy Foy

    Cathy is a veteran entertainer who's career spans performances in the New York Theater, Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall and the stages of London, Germany , Tokyo and Hong Kong. She is also the owner of the company All Hawaii Entertainment and Events LLC. Cathy is a Board member of the American Lung Association and is raising funds to find a cure for COVID-19. Read more

    Make a donation

  • Rex Freitas

    Rex is a bus driver by trade with over 35 years of experience as a TheBus driver and was voted as the Best Bus Driver Honolulu Weekly’s Best Of Honolulu series. He’s also been a strong advocate for a variety of issues. Rex is raising funds in memory of his loving parents, Roy and Verna, who both faced lung health issues during their lifetime. Read more

    Make a donation

  • Cynthia J. Goto, M.D.

    Dr. Goto has been a champion for over 30 years to improve access to health care and social services. She strongly supports raising funds to conduct research relevant to the coronavirus epidemic and develop a vaccine to prevent further spread of this virus across the globe. Read more

    Make a donation

  • Jason Hagiwara

    Jason is the President and General Manager of KITV4 News Island Television. He serves on the Board of Directors for the Hawaii Association of Broadcasters and has a long history in Hawaii's broadcasting landscape. Jason is raising funds for the American Lung Association in Hawaii because he has seen the direct impacts of COVID-19 through his station's reporting. Read more

    Make a donation

  • Grace K. Hao

    Grace is the President and co-founder of the Coach Excellence School. She is a Certified Coach with the Worldwide Association of Business Coaches and provides business coaching through Coaching With Grace. She is raising funds and awareness for the Lung Association because great things happen when good people and exceptional organizations collaborate for the betterment of all. Read more

    Make a donation

  • Pedro and Troy Haro-Siruno

    Pedro and Troy are leaders in the fields of nonprofit and communications. Both are celebrated in their respective fields and together have worked in various projects to improve the community. They are Turquoise Ambassadors to honor Troy’s Mom, who is a lung cancer survivor. Read more

    Make a donation

  • Jerris Hedges, MD

    Dr. Hedges, Dean of the John A. Burns School of Medicine, is known nationally as co-author a leading text in patient care, Roberts and Hedges' Clinical Procedures in Emergency Medicine. He is raising funds because in this time of the SARS-novel-coronavirus we know that those with chronic lung conditions are at increased risk of coronavirus related lung injury. Read more

    Make a donation

  • Meli James

    Meli James is a cofounder at Mana Up, an initiative to expand economic opportunity, business infrastructure, and higher wage jobs in Hawai’i. In 2007, Meli founded her first company, Nirvino, a #1 ranked wine app, an Apple Platform Top 100 App, and Top Ten Lifestyles App. She is raising funds in honor of her grandmother, who passed away from lung cancer in her forties. Read more

    Make a donation

  • Kathy Inkinen

    Kathy is the founder of the Executive Search firm Inkinen & Associates and since 2018 has been designated as Founder/Advisor working with Ben Ancheta, new President. Kathy is a leader at the American Lung Association in Hawaii as part of its Lung Force and serves on the Outstanding Mother Awards committee.Read more

    Make a donation

  • Linda Kalahiki

    As Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, Linda leads UHA Health Insurance’s Marketing Services and Worksite Wellness Services departments. It is a personal mission of Linda to bring awareness to lung cancer being the leading cause of cancer death and to raise funds in support of needed programs and research.Read more

    Make a donation

  • Howard Lee

    Howard is the President and Chief Executive Officer of UHA Health Insurance. He’s been a part of UHA since 1997 when he joined as Chief Financial Officer and later as Chief Operating Officer. He serves on various nonprofit boards and is raising funds for the Lung Association because he believes in the importance of bringing attention to clean air. Read more

    Make a donation

  • Julian Lipsher

    Julian has been part of the public health landscape of Hawaii for decades, having most recently served as Chief of the Chronic Disease Management and Control Branch at the Department of Health. A new member of the Hawaii Leadership Board for the Lung Association, he volunteers with various nonprofits. Julian is raising funds to reduce the human and financial costs of lung disease. Read more

    Make a donation

  • Larry Nakano

    Larry is raising funds for the Lung Association because he believes each person needs to take responsibility for improving the lives of others. As a child of a heavy smoker, he personally witnessed the effects of poor health choices. "We need to take steps to insure that people of all ages are fully informed of the best way for them to live rewarding and healthy lives." Read more

    Make a donation

  • Cheryl Oncea

    Cheryl Oncea is the publisher of Hawaii Business Magazine. overseeing sales, marketing, research, design, digital and events including the Leadership Conference and the Wahine Forum. Her involvement with the American Lung Association in Hawaii is very personal. She lost her mother to lung cancer in 2018. Read more

    Make a donation

  • Patti Ponimoi

    Patti Ponimoi is the Local Sales Manager for Summit Media radio stations in Honolulu. Patti’s involvement as an ambassador is extremely personal. She was diagnosed with lung cancer and underwent surgery to remove part of her lung in 2019. Today, she is grateful to say that she is a lung cancer survivor for more than a year with the support of her family and friends. Read more

    Make a donation

  • Ron Sanderson 

    Dr. Sanderson is a respiratory therapist, asthma educator, and life member of the American Association of Respiratory Care with a PhD in Public Health. He is the owner and founder of the Respiratory Center of Hawaii. Ron has been involved with the American Lung Association for over 40 years and serves on the Hawaii Leadership Board. Read more

    Make a donation

  • Bryan L. Talisayan

    Bryan is the Executive Director of Mental Health America of Hawai`i, the state’s leading mental health education and advocacy organization. Previously, he spent 25 years in an executive capacity at several Hawai`i Community Health Centers,He is raising funds because as a former smoker, he fully understand and supports the Association’s services in Hawai`i. Read more

    Make a donation

  • Steve Wilson

    Steve is currently an engineering project manager for Oceanit an has held numerous positions in engineering and executive management. He is the Vice Chair of the Leadership Board for the American Lung Association in Hawaii and is a member of the Regional Board. Steve is a Turquoise Ambassador because he knows how important it is to prevent lung disease. Read more

    Make a donation

  • Sterling Yee 

    Sterling Yee is the director of Strategic Consulting Services at Oceanit and serves in the Lung Association's National Board of Directors and as chair of Hawaii's Leadership Board. His most recent project is working with the Asian Development Bank in Manila to develop new projects in Southeast Asia to improve infrastructure, education and health in an effort to decrease poverty and raise the standards of living.  Read more

    Make a donation

  • We've Raised:

    Our Goal: $55,000.00

Top Candidates

    1. Troy Siruno - $7,765.00
    2. Kathryn Inkinen - $4,660.00
    3. Cynthia Goto - $4,373.00
    4. Personal Gift Linda Kalahiki - $4,000.00
    5. Personal Gift Bryan Talisayan - $3,661.00
    6. Personal Gift Valerie Davison - $3,130.00
    7. Rex Freitas - $3,050.00
    8. Jerris Hedges - $3,050.00
    9. Howard Lee - $3,000.00
    10. Meli James - $2,453.00
    11. Cheryl Oncea - $2,433.00
    12. Patti Ponimoi - $2,370.00
    13. Personal Gift Mimi Beams - $2,209.00
    14. Personal Gift Sterling Yee - $2,130.00
    15. Ron Sanderson - $1,706.00
    16. Personal Gift Cathy Foy - $1,600.00
    17. Personal Gift Stephen Wilson - $1,100.00
    18. Personal Gift Jason Hagiwara - $925.00
    19. Larry Nakano - $350.00
    20. Personal Gift Julian Lipsher - $200.00

    Thank You to Our Local Sponsors

    KITV4 Island News  UHA Health Insurance

    American Lung Association, 5757 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 505, Los Angeles, CA 90036 T: 1-310-735-9492 | Contact