Mike Young and Kalea Walthall

Mike Young and Kalea Walthall in joyful celebration at the new Kamalani Pavilion in Summer 2011 — one of hundreds of Young’s donated performances. Courtesy photo

Mike Young is a Giver — On Sunday, Dec. 9, Give Back

Let’s Beat the Big C

by Anne E. O’Malley

On Sunday, December 9, all roads lead to Casablanca Restaurant in Po`ipu and to the guy with the huge heart and big talent — who’s working on beating cancer. Young is finding the tables reversed, for it is usually he who is playing for others — but on this day, others will play for him.

From 3 p.m. to 9 p.m., some of the best musicians on Kaua`i will be performing at Casablanca Restaurant. Owner Liz Foley-McGinn will host the fundraiser and silent auction for Young at the place where he has entertained for a few years. It’s adjacent to the tennis courts at Kiahuna Plantation.

Food will be available and there will be a no host bar. The cover charge is $5.

Young’s popular song Nani O Kaua`i is a work he conceived in 1978 when, as he says, “I came in from O`ahu to do a weekend gig.  Kaua`i embraced me.”

It has become something of an anthem for this island and also earned him accolades from the listening public. The singer, composer, musician and surfer did time at Lopoc for dealing, and turned his life around, advocating for a drug-free sport through WRAD — Wave Riders against Drugs.

Launched in 1989, WRAD took off in Hawai`i, California and Australia as well, bringing internationally known pro surfers and recovering addicts to speak to over 200,000 school students, advocating for drug-free surfing.

To finance WRAD, Young used his earning from singing and teaching surfing — and, for a time, he lived in his car.

Young is a recipient of the Ola Pono Award given annually to individuals and groups in Hawai`i that advocate against drug use. Translated, the award’s Hawaiian name means Living Right and was sponsored by the Hawai`i Medical Service Association, the state attorney general’s office, the Department of Education and NBC Hawaii News 8.

He is also a recipient of the Hawaii Community Servant of the Year Award for his untiring efforts in Hawai`i and California.

For years, Young has donated his time, talent and earnings for others and has as well, been a supporter of the arts.

For information about this event, call 808-742-9292.