Pink is everywhere. Pink ribbons on cars and decorating stores, pink shirts and pink socks on spectators and even players at football fields, pink lights on the White House — all because October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Ironically, sadly, just as the annual series of awareness events comes to a close, the terrible disease has struck one of our own in Ashburn, claiming the young, vibrant life of a breast cancer awareness advocate who inspired many in the community to join her fight. Malea Kanoho, a 38-year-old mother of six and Ashburn resident, died Oct. 21 after a courageous, three-and-a-half year battle with Metastatic Invasive Carcinoma Breast Cancer.
Anyone that met Kanoho instantly felt close to her and couldn’t help but champion her cause. She always smiled — beamed even — so gentle and genuinely kind to everyone she met.
“She was always positive and spent most of the last three-and-a-half years comforting those around her who were struggling so hard to deal with her illness and how unfair it was,” said long-time, friend Chelle Newton.
Through numerous events and fundraisers, Kanoho motivated various groups in the Ashburn community to help join the fight against breast cancer. She shared her story with everyone she met in hopes of saving as many lives as she could. She encouraged all women to get early screenings and to never give up the fight.
“She never gave up on finding a treatment that would work and she never gave up hope,” said Newton. “What she would want her legacy to be is to never give up, never stop trying; try anything offered to you. Cancer should not have to win the breast cancer war when the battles are fought so hard.”
Husband, Jay Kanoho, said he wanted to thank everyone in the Ashburn community that gave so generously to help their family during his wife’s battle with breast cancer (see stories below about some of those events). Although she is gone, Kanoho and her efforts will live on in the hearts and minds of all those who knew her.
“She was the kindest, gentlest, most giving person I've ever known, and that kind of spirit never really dies,” Newton said.
Kanoho was born March 13, 1974, in Long Beach, CA, to USCG Chief Electrician’s Mate Glenn A. Wallis and Patty Manis Wallis. As a military child, she moved several times but spent many years in Hawaii and Alaska. She met the love of her life, Jason Kanoho, at Seattle Tacoma International Airport, where they fell in love and were later married on Sept. 6, 1996. Kanoho lived in Honolulu, HI, prior to moving to Ashburn in 2009. Kanoho was a member of Cornerstone Chapel in Leesburg. She was active in the community and the Ashburn Youth Football League as a coach’s wife and team mom. During her battle with cancer, she fought for equal rights among victims and supported many charities battling for a cure.
Kanoho is survived by her beloved, husband, Jason Noeau Kanoho of Ashburn; six children: Jaylene Uhls of Graham, WA, Keala Moeai of Graham, WA, Marc Wallis of Ashburn, Justyn Phillips of Kent, WA, Dallas Kanoho of Ashburn, Breauna Kanoho of Ashburn; her mother: Patty Manis Wallis of Lawrence, KS; her father: Glenn A. Wallis of Spring Valley, CA; a brother: Glenn A. Wallis Jr., of Menifee, CA; two sisters: Shalera Reanier of Northglenn, CO, and Shantell Wallis of Oskaloosa, KS; seven grandchildren; and a host of other relatives and friends.
A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Oct. 27, at Cornerstone Chapel, 742 Miller Dr. SE, in Leesburg, followed by a celebration of life, and light lunch, at noon. Interment will be private at a later date in her final resting place in Seattle. To honor her passing during Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the family is asking everyone to wear pink and white to the memorial service.
In lieu of flowers, the family has requested that donations be made to an education fund for her children: Malea Renee Kanoho Memorial Fund, c/o Matt Dolan, 47037 Berwick Ct., Sterling, VA 20165.
Previous stories about Kanoho:
- AYFL Pink Out Benefits Ashburn Resident
- Dine at Nick's ...
- Pink Martinis and Bikinis ...
- Tee Off or Get Away to Help ...