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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, September 28, 2007

A basket of range balls and a message of hope

 •  Lucky charm

By Mike Gordon
Advertiser Staff Writer

Mortality was on his mind the morning Chris Pablo went to the Ko'olau Golf Club driving range. Only a few months into his battle with chronic myelogenous leukemia, he hit balls and pondered his chances of survival.

Lining up a shot, he stopped short of driving his frustrations into a weathered Spalding. It was stamped with two words that momentarily left Pablo breathless:

"BEAT LEUKEMIA."

He kept the ball, often carrying it in his pocket when he went to work, the doctor's office or bone marrow donor rallies. Then and now, it has seemed more than a simple lucky charm.

"It is still a very powerful tool," Pablo said. "It is a messenger."

At a recent dinner at which he was a speaker, Pablo waited his turn at a table with several strangers. He showed them the golf ball.

"I said, 'I have to speak and I am nervous, and I always have this in my pocket when I speak, so let me tell you this story'," he said. "I don't know if stunned is the word. The folks who looked at it, they just went, 'Wow.' "

Reach Mike Gordon at mgordon@honoluluadvertiser.com.