These ‘bootcampers’ combine camaraderie with community service (and now they’re knitting, too)

“It became, ‘Okay. Let’s hang out with a purpose.”
Published: Dec. 3, 2022 at 2:58 PM HST|Updated: Dec. 4, 2022 at 12:33 AM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A holiday surprise came in the shape of a colorful gift presented to Straub’s Outpatient Cancer Center this week.

A team of Straub employees from different departments came together to give the cancer center beautiful blankets that they knitted themselves.

Every week like clockwork, this group of co-workers tackle their physical fitness with after-work exercise atop the Straub Medical Center’s parking lot.

They build muscle, agility, and camaraderie.

They even have a name — the Straub Bootcampers.

”Over the years we just started to hang out a lot more. It became more than a social network,” Straub Bootcamper Dr. Rebekah Fu said.

“It became, ‘OK, let’s hang out with a purpose.”

That purpose led to volunteering for various causes, from helping at homeless shelters to working with charities.

But never in their wildest dreams did the Bootcampers think they would ever take up knitting.

Under the guiding hand of knitting instructor, cancer survivor, and honorary Bootcamper Sue Keola, the team has gotten pretty good at transforming yarn into something beautiful.

“The first session we had 16 people show up,” said Sue Keola, owner of Isle Knit. “That was huge for me.”

Their star stitcher is a knitting newbie.

”I don’t know where this came from,” Matt Yasuda said. “It’s just way out of my wheelhouse. I did not expect to do well at all.”

That leads us to the centerpiece for this story — the group’s purpose for their latest joint endeavor.

During their knitting circles, they worked on blankets.

On Monday, they donated to Straub’s Outpatient Cancer Center.

”This is the first time we’ve created something unique together as a group with Sue’s expertise and help,” Fu said. “Hopefully, it’s the first of many.”

The blankets are just the beginning.

The Bootcampers are officially hooked on knitting and they have another joint knitting project in the works.

But that’s a secret for now.

And in case you’re wondering, their weekly exercise sessions haven’t unraveled.

Like a good cross stitch, the Bootcampers are tighter than ever.