My heart is broken tonight.
A long-time friend, Derek, with whom I have mutual friends online and offline called me tonight to give me the horrible news: our friend Ryan Suenaga had died in a tragic hiking accident on the Olomana trail on the windward side of `Oahu. It was surreal. I was in disbelief. Ryan, 44, was passionate about fitness. He was a Type II diabetic and had lost 80 lbs. since 2002 through a disciplined commitment to diet and exercise. He had done bike rides (such as the Century, 100 miles) and ran a marathon. He enjoyed hiking with his friends. Today, he died doing one of the things he enjoyed most.
Known as @rsuenaga, he was well-respected and loved on Twitter. He was always willing to lend a hand, no matter how busy he was. I have been the beneficiary of his help on many occasions. One of my fond memories of him was when he came to see Lil’ K in the hospital when she was born. He was one of the few friends to meet her in the first hours of her life.
He was also a part of our bon dance posse. We could always spot him a mile away, thanks to his signature brightly-colored JAMS shorts. I had been looking forward to seeing him this summer at the bon dances.
There is so much more I want to write, to remember – but first, I must process. And mourn.
Ryan Suenaga, you will be missed, my friend. We love you.
Ryan Ozawa wrote a wonderful tribute to Ryan Suenaga on the Hawaii Blog.
- Update: Man who died after falling from Olomana trail identified – Hawaii News Now (April 24, 2011)
- Hiker’s death mourned by friends, family, social media [VIDEO] – Hawaii News Now (April 25, 2011)
- Dead Hiker Remembered [VIDEO] – KITV News (April 25, 2011)
- HI Social Media Community Mourns Hiker’s Death: Ryan Suenaga Lived Life Publicly Online – KITV News (April 25, 2011)
Who is Champuru?Aloha, I'm Donna, known everywhere on the Internet as "Champuru." I was born and raised in Hawaii. I'm a Christian. I'm married to my best friend of 18 years, we struggled with infertility and successfully conceived via IVF (and by the grace of God!) in 2008. I resigned from my coveted "secure" government job to be a work-at-home mom to my 3-year-old daughter. Using my degree in Information Technology and the skills obtained in the marketplace, I started my own business. Now, I work from home, taking clients on a part-time basis, working in my PJ's while the little one sleeps. Life isn't always easy, but it's all good.