Tuesday, July 8, 2003

Outrigger’s ex-manager
fights for life

Friends of John Rader plan a
$100-per-ticket benefit at the club

Friends of the former general manager of the Outrigger Canoe Club are holding a fund-raiser to help him pay for his battle against chronic liver disease.

"If the tables were turned, he would be the first one there," said club member Phil Sevier, referring to John Rader. "We're doing the best we can for him."

A $100-per-ticket benefit for Rader will be held at the Outrigger Canoe Club from 6 to 9 p.m. July 22. The event includes heavy pupus, a silent auction and entertainment and is open to the public.

"I was blown away," said Rader, 62, during a phone interview from Irvine, Calif., when he learned about the fund-raiser.

"I've been doing this kind of thing for people over the years. What happened to me was so hard to accept. You don't know that you're going to be in that position in life."

Rader, a 1960 alumnus of McKinley High School, was the Outrigger Canoe Club's general manager from 1995 to 2002. He moved to California in November to become general manager of Pebble Beach Golf and Tennis Club and to be closer to his family.

After the start of the new year, Rader said he started to feel lethargic and lose his appetite. Doctors could not determine what was wrong with him until he developed jaundice that caused his eyes and skin to turn yellow.

In March, doctors diagnosed him with primary sclerosing cholangitis, a condition where the walls of the bile ducts become inflamed and scarred. The ducts that carry bile out of the liver become blocked when scarring increases.

"It was hard for me to believe that this had happened," said Rader. "I thought about it for a while and said, 'OK, how do I fight it?' I dug deep down and said, 'This is not going to stop me.'"

Bob Apisa, Rader's childhood friend and former Farrington High School and Michigan State University football star, said his heart sank when he learned of Rader's illness.

"He means a lot to me in my life," Apisa said during a phone interview from San Fernando Valley, Calif. Apisa moved to Hawaii from American Samoa and grew up with Rader at the Makalapa naval housing at Pearl Harbor.

Apisa, who calls Rader at least three times a week, said he has helped him overcome obstacles throughout his life.

"I'm privileged just to call him a friend," said Apisa.

Rader quit his job in April because of his illness and underwent a quadruple bypass last month so his heart will be able to endure a liver transplant. Since he became ill, Radar's weight dropped to 173 pounds from 225 pounds.

Rader said he is determined to beat his illness.

"My goal is to get well. ... It's too early to check out."

Those who are interested in making a donation but unable to attend the event can send a check to the Outrigger Canoe Club at 2909 Kalakaua Ave., Honolulu 96815. Checks can be made payable to Friends of John Rader.


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