to aid firefighter
Charlie Iwata, of Maui, is
battling a rare form of cancer
WAILUKU >> Maui fire Capt. Charlie Iwata has risked his life to save others. Friends and family are now asking for the public's financial help in saving his life.
Iwata, 42, a Wailuku resident and father of two teenage sons, has been diagnosed with bronchoalveolar carcinoma, a rare form of lung cancer. He has been on leave from the Fire Department since March and is receiving treatment on Oahu.
A fund-raising golf tournament is being sponsored on Iwata's behalf at 7 a.m. May 15 at the Dunes of Maui Lani golf course.
His sister Sandy Iwata Canha said Iwata's only hope has been to undergo costly experimental procedures because his cancer cannot be treated by chemotherapy, radiation or surgery.
Sandy said the golf tournament is the first of several events that Iwata's family, friends and fellow firefighters have organized to help defray medical costs.
Iwata, who attended St. Anthony Grade School and Iao Intermediate and is a 1980 graduate of Kamehameha Schools at the Kapalama campus on Oahu, has served 17 years in the Maui Fire Department.
He has worked as a member of fire rescue crews and most recently as a fire captain at the new Wailea Fire Station.
Friends said Iwata, a U.S. Air Force veteran, volunteered as an Upcountry Little League coach when his sons played baseball and has served as an umpire on Maui.
"He's always been there for the community, coaching baseball and volleyball and being there for the kids," said Elvin Kamoku, the Maui division chairman of the Hawaii Firefighters Association.
Kamoku said that while working in the rescue squad, Iwata participated in numerous rescues and saved many lives.
Sandy said the family, including his mother, Winona, and sisters Charlene Steuri, Janice Ponce and Teri Iwata Ferreira, is grateful for the help of county and state firefighters.
"They all know he's going to fight this thing," she said. "He's going to lick this thing."
Deputy Fire Chief Neal Bal said the department supports the fund-raiser.
"I've always thought about the department as a family," Bal said. "The brothers and sisters (of the department) are coming together as they have in the past, but we need the public's help as well."
The tournament is a scramble format with two-player teams. The entry fee is $100 a player and includes cart and greens fees, a Hole-in-One competition for a Ford truck and an awards luncheon at the Hale Nanea Club House at 2 p.m.
Guests and nongolfers may attend the luncheon for $20. Individuals or organizations who wish to help but do not play golf can sponsor holes, donate prizes or make donations to the "Friends of Charlie Iwata."
To register for the golf tournament or to contribute prizes, call Cindy or Kay on Maui at 808-270-7564.
Donations to the "Friends of Charlie Iwata" fund may be sent to 200 Dairy Road, Kahului, HI 96732. Make checks payable to "Friends of Charlie Iwata."