Chee Hoo Chongers is a beer release that is near and dear to my heart. It all started with Lindsay reaching out over an email.
I'll admit I started reading it at home with my Pau beer in hand, but I instantly started crying. Reading about her love for Camille and Camille's story left me in awe of their strength and integrity. I handed my phone to Josh, saying "We have to do a beer for them."
Subject: Mahalo for Being “Our Spot” Aloha e Hana Koa, I wanted to reach out and say thank you for being the exact space and place our community needs! Back in early 2020, my wife Camille and I were introduced to Hana Koa through a friend and while we stopped at many bottle shops across the island to stock up on the tasty cold packs, it wasn’t until May of this year that we actually made it over to the brewery. In fact, Hana Koa was the 1st place Camille and I enjoyed indoor dining since COVID began and we seem to find a way to make it over to your place on an almost weekly basis. Last week when we were enjoying dinner & drinks for pau hana, Camille paused and said, “I’m so stoked we have our spot! I love Hana Koa” and I completely agree! In recognizing that Hana Koa does a lot of collaborations and supports great causes, I wanted to inquire as to whether or not you are interested in learning more about METAvivor, a non-profit that provides 100% of donations directly to research for metastatic breast cancer (MBC), which is the term used for breast cancer that is spread throughout the body and is stage 4 and terminal. METAvivor’s mission is to fund research that extends the amount and quality of life for patients with MBC. Camille is one of these patients and has been living with metastatic breast cancer for 5 years. As an audacious advocate for her and the cause, I wonder if Hana Koa would be willing to consider brewing a beer for the month of October with a portion of proceeds going to METAvivor. October is Breast Cancer Awareness month and just so happens that October 12th is Camille’s birthday and October 13th is Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness Day. This year she turns 48 and while we don’t know how many more birthdays she’ll get to celebrate, I’d like to make sure this one is amazing and I couldn’t think of any better way than a surprise brew for her that supports an organization so important in our lives. On Camille’s bucket list is the chance to brew some beer... All the best, Lindsay Lindenbach
I was blown away. Camille had been living with metastatic breast cancer for 5 FREAKIN YEARS!? According to different sources, the average life of a metastatic breast cancer patient is 3 years. 22% make it to 5 years.
I don't think I ever told Lindsay or Camille why METAvivor means a lot to me, personally. Back in 2010 my Mother in Law from my first marriage was diagnosed with breast cancer. She was, and still is, the mother I have never had. I've never had support from a mother figure except for Judy. Through her treatments I saw someone that I admired so highly go through something so painful and heart breaking - yet trying to stay strong to not worry the people around her. Fortunately, she recovered and has had scans confirming that the breast cancer has subsided and has not come back, but there were scares that it was developing to Metastatic stage 4. I don't know what I would've done without her. She has held me through the most heart breaking moments of my life, and still supports me from far away. If her cancer would've developed to Metastatic stage 4 terminal... well I don't know what the world would be like today without her. It is the work of METAvivor that gives hope to the most serious stages of breast cancer patients, and I can't thank them enough for the work that they do.
Chee Hoo Chongers Hazy IPA has been in the works for 4 months. We reached back out to Lindsay to get the ball rolling, learn more about METAvivor and what we can do to help.
We planned to surprise Camille on brew day. Lindsay lovingly set up the day and told Camille they were going to grab some takeout beer. Lindsay walked Camille to the back, and Josh showed them to the brewhouse.
Camille asked "What are we doing back here?"
Josh Replied "We are brewing your beer today!"
Tears were shed. Smiles were abundant. Beers were shared. A brew was born.
Ever since, both Camille and Lindsay have been involved in every stage of the brewing process, as well as planning the release and helping us coordinate with METAvivor.
In Lindsay's words, here is Camille's Story:
Camille Chong is known for her warm smile, contagious spirit of aloha and the way she can just make everyone feel better just by being around her as she always has the time to listen and talk story and make a new friend!
In 2013, just after turning 40, Camille was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer. After completing the routine treatment of chemo, surgery and radiation, we thought Camille was in the clear and cancer-free. Camille continued with ongoing hormone therapy and annual scans and in the spring of 2016, scans revealed that the breast cancer had spread to her spine, hips and ribs. Camille was now diagnosed with stage 4 with metastatic breast cancer. This devastating diagnosis turned Camille's world upside-down and has impacted daily life in many ways but Camille has never let it waver her spirit. Camille has been living with metastatic breast cancer for 5+ years and continues to inspire everyone she knows and meets with her positive attitude and indomitable mission to live every day to the fullest and with aloha!
All that know Camille and I, can attest to our love of travel- exploring various countries and cities, all while enjoying great craft beer along the way! While we have visited many amazing breweries around the world, our favorite is not far from home, with local favorite Hana Koa Brewing. Camille has named Hana Koa "our spot" for her and I as everything about Hana Koa returns the same sense of aloha she exudes. Every time we enjoy some time at the brewery, Camille is brought back to a sense of "normal" and can put the fact that she has cancer aside for a short while.
Knowing that brewing beer is on Camille's bucket list, I reached out to Hana Koa to share Camille's story and inquire about a collaboration to fundraise for Metavivor. While we don't know how many more birthdays Camille and others living with metastatic breast cancer will have, we can make sure the time they have is extraordinary and full of love and support. A fundraiser for Metavivor is the perfect gift as 100% of donations go directly to research for metastatic breast cancer treatments to extend the amount and quality of life for those impacted by this disease.
To Donate To MetaVivor:
We are honored to do a beer with Camille and Lindsay for METAvivor. They have lifted our spirits and our lives are forever better having them a part of our Ohana. A portion of the proceeds of Chee Hoo Chongers Hazy IPA and the Chee Hoo Shirts will be donated to METAvivor.
This is why we do what we do. There's always more to what's in your glass.