By Caitlin Rung, Town Correspondent
Sailing Heals is a newly chartered independent nonprofit based in Massachusetts. Its mission is to bring cancer patients and thier caretakers out on the water for days of healing and repite. The launch of the organization will take place this Thursday in Nantucket.
Sailing Heals came to Marblehead during the Classic Yacht Regatta at the Corinthian Yacht Club. Patients and their caregivers ventured out on the vintage yacht Mariella for a two-hour cruise around the harbor.
Those aboard were Mariellaâ€™s owner Carlo Falcone, Janet Nieto, Ed Tschann, Melinda Lee, Gary Gregory, Michelle Gallagher, Trisha Boisvert, Linnea Duff, and her son, Peter.
The launch of Sailing Heals means much to the cancer patients, their caregivers and those behind the organization.
Patient Linnea Duff and her friend and caretaker Melinda Lee spent some carefree time together on the water.
"We couldnâ€™t be more pleased than to launch our new charity with such well-respected organizations as MGH Cancer Center, Nantucket Community Hospital and Officine Panerai," said Trisha Boisvert, Sailing Heals executive director. "We see a true collaborative spirit among all the partners, and we look forward to taking patients and their caretakers out of the clinical environment to enjoy the healing powers of the sea.â€
Boisvert said the charity will ultimately serve other regions and may be expanded to other â€œpeople in need of a rejuvenating day on the water,â€ but the initial focus is to draw attention to the need for ongoing care for cancer patients to help them reclaim their lives after a traumatic illness.
"People sometimes forget that itâ€™s not just the patients who go through the treatments, itâ€™s the families and caregivers, too. We want to celebrate their contributions as well," Boisvert added.
"We are thrilled to partner with Panerai on this exciting event to kick off the 2011 Opera House Cup and to celebrate the newly launched nonprofit Sailing Heals," said Sara Kelly, senior managing director of development for Massachusetts General Hospital. "We know that our patients and their caregivers appreciate a relaxing escape that a day at sea brings to their often challenging treatment schedules."
Sailing Heals aims to provide enjoyable sailing and boating experiences to individuals, families, caretakers and staff who may benefit from a congenial, healing day on the water. Persons who have gone through traumatic experiences, such as intensive cancer treatments or the death of a loved one from cancer or another serious illness, are invited to be guests of volunteer sailors, who donate their time, boats, and talents. Independent sponsors also provide the necessary funding to undertake the sailing outings and provide hospitality.