The other day, I interviewed Tracy Kaleikehaulani Nakanelua Poch as part of the Pacific Students Media team’s “What’s Our Story?” project to combat negative stereotypes and misinformation about Pacific Islanders in Hawaii. Tracy has been in the news as the only Hawaiian to make it on the Junior USA Women’s Rugby 7’s Team to possibly compete in the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
Little news is made of her other dream to wrestle in the upcoming Micro Games for her dad’s home island of Chuuk. If it weren’t for Clark Graham, head of the Chuuk Team and my neighbors Bill and Jean Sakovich, Tracy’s story of her Micronesian Dream would probably remain secondary to her American Dream. Let’s change that by sending her to the Micro Games in July 20 – 29, 2014 in Pohnpei, FSM. Tracy desperately needs roundtrip tickets from Hilo to Pohnpei.
It was truly heart breaking to listen to Tracy talk passionately about her athletic dream of competing in the Olympics to represent her two roots yet greatly hampered by the financial burden on her family in Hilo, Hawaii. Yet her resilience comes through the challenges of finding funds to chase these dreams. Talking to her reminds me of my former student and Chuukese olympian in the London Games, the late Keitani Graham.
If you can help Tracy with donations or to find some willing corporate sponsors for her, please do so.
- Donate funds to her Go Fund Me account: http://www.gofundme.com/87be5c
- Contact her directly: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Donate your frequent flier miles to pay for her round trip ticket to Pohnpei (local expenses arranged by Chuuk Team)
- “Tracy Poch hopes to be first Big Islander on USA Women’s Rugby 7’s Team ” by Kevin Jakahi (West Hawaii Today, April 4, 2014)
- “Olympic-sized Dream” by Kevin Jakahi (Herald Tribune, June 6, 2012)