News/ Boston, MA: Cancer is a reality that has become far too common for many people and their families. Recent statistics have shown that currently each year over 12.7 million people discover they have cancer and 7.6 million people die from the disease annually and the numbers will only continue to grow until a medical cure is found. As many know, a cancer diagnosis not only affects the patient but, it can take a serious toll on their families and caregivers.
While many clinical researchers are committed to finding a cure and promising steps are made every day, some are also dedicated to improving the experience for patients and families during this highly-sensitive time in their lives.
With the goal of providing more joyful experiences along the way, a Massachusetts-based non-profit was chartered several years ago with support from the Italian high-end watch brand Panerai, as a community tie-in to its classic yacht regattas that are hosted annually in New England. The result is Sailing Heals, a 501c3 that provides days of healing and relaxation for patients and families (called “VIPs”) undergoing a serious health setback, such as cancer.
Since beginning in 2011, Sailing Heals — with support from Panerai, Eisai Pharmaceuticals and private donors — has hosted seaside lunches and yachting events in over 20 ports in nine different states for nearly 1,900 VIP guests.
Sailing Heals’ Board Member, Dr. Lori Wirth of Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center, said this about the organization, “Sailing Heals offers our patients who are going through one of the greatest challenges in life a chance to get away from it all and simply enjoy a healing day out on a beautiful boat on the water with family and friends. The joy and memories that result can last forever. My own patients have come back with so many great stories that I’ve even began “prescribing” a day with Sailing Heals to some. And, one of the best things about the program is that it is free!”
Invitations to participate in the Sailing Heals program are by word-of-mouth through medical personnel. Upcoming sails will take place in Naples, FL; Miami, FL; San Diego, CA; San Francisco, CA; Charleston, SC; Annapolis, MD; as well as several in NY and New England ports. Featured “themed” sails include a “Pirates & Princesses Treasure Hunt Adventure” for kids going through a serious health challenge, the Nurses Sail, Guyâ€™s Sail and the annual Wicked Strong Sail for Boston Marathon Survivors.
“Cancer took a back seat that day; we had the time of our lives.” â€“ L. Duff, VIP Guest
About Sailing Heals
Sailing Heals is a 501(c)(3) organization which offers enjoyable sailing experiences to VIP patient guests, their caretakers and staff who would benefit from a memorable and healing day on the water. Originating in Marblehead, MA, its mission is to give people in need an “escape for a spirit-lifting day at sea.” Its second aim is to bring the great sport of sailing and the healing properties of the sea to people who might not ordinarily be exposed to its benefits; and its third aim is to be the charity of choice for sailing and boating enthusiasts who are keen to give back to others and share their beloved sport. Sailing Heals is supported by generous donors and sponsors, such as Founding Sponsor Officine Panerai, (an Italian-designed, Swiss-made fine watchmaker which is the title sponsor of the Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge), Eisai Pharmaceuticals, an active Board of Directors, over 150 Host Captains, Donors and Volunteers. For more information, visit www.sailingheals.org.