Santa Cruz Good Times

Friday
Mar 06th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

A Surf Warrior Honored

new3-1FrostyLocal businesses participate in fundraiser for the Zeuf Hesson Memorial Fund

Santa Cruz lost a local legend last December when beloved surf icon and Pleasure Point resident Robin Janiszeufski "Zeuf" Hesson passed away after a nearly 20-year battle with cancer.

To honor that struggle and the legacy of strength and compassion that Hesson left behind, a group of friends and associates have organized a fundraiser sale on March 15. Around a dozen businesses, including Village Yoga and Modern Life Home and Garden, will participate by donating a portion of all sales that day to the Zeuf Hesson Memorial Fund at PowerOverCancer, a nonprofit where Hesson served on the Board of Directors for several years before her passing.

“Zeuf suffered physically for almost the entire time I knew her, and yet she was always ready to give her love and support to others,” says Amy Mihal, a close friend of Hesson’s and a co-owner of Village Yoga in Downtown Santa Cruz who helped organize the fundraiser. “There weren’t many spirits like her. I think we all saw things in her we wanted to honor and emulate.”

Hesson left a powerful impression on those who knew her, whether as a friend, patient, or even customer. Last October, Mihal and others organized a “living wake” for Hesson in the form of a paddle-out, a surfing tradition that usually honors the recently deceased. In this instance, however, Hesson herself was the master of ceremonies.

“It was the most touching, moving, life and death affirming thing I’ve ever experienced,” says Alayna Nathe, another close friend who helped organize the fundraiser and the paddle-out along with Mihal. “There was such an outpouring of love—it was floating in waves down the street. Zeuf said it was the best day of her life.”

Hesson worked for years as a critical care nurse and gave much of her time to helping others through nonprofits like Serrena, as PowerOverCancer was called when she sat on its board. Together with her husband Richard “Frosty” Hesson, a local surf legend in his own right, Hesson helped to establish the Ride-A-Wave program, which assists disabled people in discovering the joy of surfing.

Those who knew her best, however, tend to remember not so much the things Hesson did with her life but simply the way in which she lived it.

“She had such strength of character,” says Nathe. “She was goofy and loving, but also brilliant beyond belief. Despite the physical devastation of her battle with cancer, I never saw even a glimmer of her wanting to give up. She was a true warrior.”

news3-2zpaddleThe late Robin Janiszeufski “Zeuf” Hesson pictured above at her living wake last October; below with her husband Richard “Frosty” Hesson.The idea for the fundraiser arose organically, when Mihal and Nathe found themselves chatting with Jill Sollitto, the owner of Modern Life Home and Garden, Hesson’s favorite furniture store. As the conversation turned from fond memories of Hesson to an upcoming sale at Modern Life, a light bulb went off.

The fundraiser has since expanded to include several other businesses, as well as a book signing by Frosty Hesson of his memoir “Making Mavericks” at Modern Life on March 15. The organizers say they plan to make the event an annual one, and hope that it will only increase in size and scope as time goes by.

“Cancer is awful,” says Sollitto. “We’re all going to have a direct experience with it—either ourselves or the people close to us. I mostly knew Zeuf through this business, so I’m glad I can use it to help support a cause that was so close to her heart.”

The money will go to the Zeuf Hesson Memorial Fund at PowerOverCancer, which was established just after her passing in December. The fund, and POC in general, helps cancer patients afford services like acupuncture, psychotherapy or massage according to their financial need.

“Zeuf really believed in taking clinical care and leveraging it with supportive care services to address the emotional, social and physical challenges of fighting cancer,” says Patty Gebhardt, who served on POC’s Board with Hesson. “That was something she lived and breathed on her own cancer journey.”

Gebhardt says Hesson’s approach to her battle with cancer was unique and deeply inspirational—so much so that it inspired POC’s current name.

“Before the name was Serrena,” says Gebhardt. “Which is kind of a soothing, comforting type of made-up word or brand. But through my work with Zeuf I realized that what cancer patients really want is to be empowered, to be put back in the driver’s seat. So when I made that name change I made it with her in mind.” 


Visit powerovercancer.org for more information.

Comments (2)Add Comment
...
written by Prunetucky Chris, March 14, 2014
She had such a calming and soothing voice during the morning surf rerports on KPIG.
So I wasn't surprised in the least to learn she was a nurse.
RIP, Zeuf, the Girl in the Curl.

...
written by Alayna Nathe, March 12, 2014
Great Article! Thank you so much!

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

Crop Circles

How the confusion over GMOs is undermining the organic movement

 

Week of Festivals: Full Moon, Lantern Festival, Purim, Holi

It is a week of many different festivals along with a full moon, all occurring simultaneously. Thursday Chinese New Year celebrations end with the Lantern Festival (at full moon). Thursday is also the Pisces Solar festival (full moon), Purim (Jewish Festival) and Holi (Hindu New Year Festival). Sunday, March 8, Daylight Saving Time begins at 2 a.m. The festival of Purim celebrates the freedom of the Hebrew people from the cruel Haman (a magistrate) seeking to destroy them. Esther, the Queen of Persia, who was secretly Jewish, saved her people from death. The sweet cookie hamentaschen celebrates this festival. Friday, March 6, is Holi, the Hindu Spring Festival celebrated after the March full moon. Bonfires are lit the night before, warding off evil. Holi, the Festival of Colors, is the most colorful festival in the world. It is also the Festival of Love—of Radha for Krishna (the blue-colored God). It is a spring festival with singing, dancing, carnivals, food and bhang, a drink made of cannabis leaves. Holi signifies good over evil, ridding oneself of past errors, ending conflicts through rapprochement (returning to each other). It is a day of forgiveness, including debts. Holi also marks the beginning of New Year. At the Pisces Solar festival we recite the seed thought, “We leave the Father’s home and, turning back, we save.” Great Teachers remain on Earth until all of humanity is enlightened. The New Group of World Servers is called to this task and sacrifice. Sacrifice (from the heart) is the first Law of the Soul, the heart of which is Love. This sacrifice saves the world.

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of March 6

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Water Street Grill

YOLO gets reincarnated

 

What would make Santa Cruz better?

A lot more outdoor activities such as outdoor movies and concerts, food and art festivals, and more multicultural activites. Emmanuel Cole, Santa Cruz, Bicycle Industry Product Developer

 

Thomas Fogarty Winery

When looking for a bottle of something to have with dinner, Gewürztraminer 2012 is not the first wine to come to mind. Given the popularity of Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot and Pinot Noir—to name but a few—Gewürztraminer sits low on the totem pole.

 

So Long, Louie’s

Louie’s Cajun Kitchen & Bourbon Bar closes, plus Back Porch pop-up, and 2015 Outstanding in the Field tour