State #50: Hawaii!
“Wow. State 50. We did it. We did it!”
The three of us said a version of the above sentence about a hundred times as we stepped off the plane into the warm Hawaiian air. Shock, excitement, relief, exhaustion, pride… We didn’t know how to feel. After 8 months of planning and 11 months on the road, we were down to our last state and our last event.
Donor Jam #193 was held at a McDonald’s in Koapaka near Honolulu, Oahu. Sam and Alex’s dad is from Hawaii, and his friend from High School hooked us up with some amazing people at McDonald’s. They went all out helping us promote the event- flyers, banners, radio promotion, TV spots- it was awesome and very encouraging to us that even all the way out here in Hawaii, people were excited and willing to support our efforts.
The event was very fun (especially with all the free McDonald’s) and we signed up a lot of people of Hawaiian and Asian decent. When it comes to finding bone marrow donors, the more diverse the donor pool, the higher chance of patients finding matches. Because matches is based on DNA, the best matches typically happen between those with similar ancestry. So we were very happy with all the donors we signed up in Hawaii!
Once our Donor Jam ended, we were even more in shock! How could it be over?? How did this year go by so quickly?? What now???
We left that last question sit for a while- now it was time to relax and celebrate. Our parents treated us to an awesome vacation for the rest of the week and a half we were in the Islands. We went hiking Kauai, took a very bumpy catamaran ride up the Na Pali Coast, and saw some beautiful waterfalls. On Maui we had the best macadamia nut pancakes in the world, found a secret hike to the middle of valley filled with waterfalls, and took a long drive down the famous Road to Hana.
We finished the trip back on Oahu, celebrating Christmas with Sam and Alex’s Dad’s side of the family. It was so fun having potluck dinners and seeing cousins, aunties, uncles, and grandparents that we don’t get to see often.
With slightly sunburnt skin, full bellies and full hearts, we flew back to the mainland on Christmas day. 50 states done.
What now?? Stay tuned to find out, and if you can, come by our Welcome Home Luau in Louisville at Against the Grain on January 12th from 6:30-9pm. Aloha!