When Greg Cameron was diagnosed with cancer in 2008, his astounding strength during his fight against the disease served as an inspiration to his family, friends and many others in Hawaii and beyond.
Cameron died in 2012, but the former firefighter’s indomitable spirit is still on display at The Greg Cameron Firemen’s Fund Weekend.
The second annual event kicks off Saturday with the Firemen’s Fund Golf Tournament at Hapuna Beach Prince Golf Course, and continues through Sunday with the Firemen’s Fund Biathlon (400-meter swim, 1-mile run) and LavaKids Biathlon and Keiki Beach Dash at Hapuna Beach State Recreation Area.
Cameron was a three-time finisher of the Ironman World Championship, a lifelong surfer and endurance athlete. Organizers thought the active weekend was the proper way to honor Cameron.
“Greg was a really dedicated firefighter, paramedic and fire-rescue specialist. He was also very athletic and competitive,” said Grant Kojima, Executive Director of the Greg Cameron Firemen’s Fund. “When he got sick, everyone felt he would pull through because of that competitiveness, but when he didn’t and passed away, it was really tough for everyone.
“However, the positive that came out of it is that he received so much help from the people around him — the fire department, family and the public — during his time of need, that he wanted to recognize how thankful he was. He came up with this foundation before he passed to help firefighters in need. It was one of his last wishes.”
In the organization’s two years of existence, the fund has helped out firefighters in need in a variety of ways.
Cap and Anela Dekoning received an outpouring of community support after a storm blew the roof off their Hilo home late last year. Cap Dekoning is a Hawaii County firefighter and the TGCFF provided a grant to the Dekoning family to help with expenses.
Kojima said William “Black” Abraham, a HFD Water Saftey Officer stationed in South Kohala, is the most recent firefighter to receive help from the fund.
“(Abraham) broke his back and was unable to return to work for a few months. Then, right before he was scheduled to come back, he was in a car accident and is still on leave without pay with a large family to support,” Kojima said. “We are able to help assist him with the fund.”
The fund also helps support the family of Chad Hundley after he died in 2013.
“The whole spirit of the organization is to help firefighters and their families in need,” Kojima said. “The weekend brings families and public together and the competitive spirit and camaraderie is always very positive.”
Online registration for the biathlon is closed, but late registration will be held at 7 a.m. Sunday for $30. The cost for the LavaKids event is $15, and the Keiki Beach Dash is free for ages 6 and under.
For more on The Greg Cameron Firemen’s Fund, visit tgcff.com.