Denise and Jeff have been with AccesSurf since the beginning days. They are known to have recruited many volunteers over the years! For many years Denise ran the equipment tent, volunteered at fundraisers and special events. A few years ago things change for Denise quite dramatically when she had a stroke. After many months of rehab and hard work Denise was back to being active. She joined AccesSurf swim clinics and programs as a participant. Her smile, laughter and jokes light up every event. She has a unique perspective with AccesSurf and she is such an amazing representative we are honored to share her story with you.
Tell us a little about yourself
My name is Denise Hepfer and I was born and raised in Kailua, HI. I now live with my husband and dog in Kaneone, HI. When I was younger I enjoyed sports like soccer, volleyball, bowling, and paddling. I met my husband Jeff in 2001 paddling for Kailua Canoe Club. Today I enjoy playing my word games, streaming shows and music, spending time with family, and pursuing my dream of becoming a voice actor.
How and when did you start with Accessurf?
I happened to be at White Plains for Jeff’s Birthday on the day of the first AccesSurf event in December 2006 and a soccer friend of mine was there for the event with her daughter who was a participant. While talking with my friend, we met Mark Marble and Kate Church who told us more about the program. A few months later both Jeff and I went to a training at Rehab Hospital and started volunteering. I was one of the lead volunteers in the equipment tent and made the first equipment check out sheets on my home computer.
What does AccesSurf mean to you?
AccesSurf is like an extended family and an opportunity to work on getting back into the water safely. It also means friendship, support, and laughter.
What is your favorite AccesSurf memory?
The trip to Lanai as a volunteer for the special event at the Four Seasons. I helped with the setup and checking out equipment and rash guards for participants. The entire trip was a blast and the event was a huge success. Also, getting into the canoe at the Kualoa event in 2021 a year and a half after my stroke. I didn’t think I would ever paddle again.
Anything you want to say or share with our AccesSurf ‘ohana?
Thank you so very much from the bottom of my heart for everyone’s love and support and encouragement during my recovery.