Panerai Helps with Sailing Heals

Panerai Helps with Sailing Heals

The watch brand partners with a local humanitarian to help cancer patients find solace.

Trisha Gallagher Boisvert juggles many commitments including a career in the financial services industry and her life as both a wife and a mother. She is also a daughter whose parents have suffered from cancer-related issues, so when her sister proposed a sailing-based charity to serve local cancer patients and their caregivers with the backing of her company, Panerai, Gallagher Boisvert took the challenge. “My mother has had cancer for nine years and my father is in remission, so it was hard to say no, even though I have a whole other business—but it is incredibly rewarding.”

Panerai and Gallagher Boisvert created Bradford-based Sailing Heals at the end of the 2011 season. They work with Massachusetts General Hospital and several other institutions in Boston and Greater New England to connect cancer patients and their caregivers with host captains who volunteer their boats and their time. Onboard, guests can either relax and enjoy the ride, or pitch in and learn the work of a mate. “It was 2011 when Sailing Heals had its first official sails. It was late in the season, and we were only able to get about five sails going, but last year we were able to take 230 patient-guests and their caregivers, all with [the help of] host captains,” Gallagher Boisvert says.

Panerai, a brand that has been involved with sailing since its early days as the official watchmaker of the Royal Italian Navy, has thrown its full weight behind its partnership with the charity, offering sponsorship dollars and hosting events. This support has allowed Sailing Heals to further its assistance, and the company is now doing sails in New York City and Miami. “In 2007, I was diagnosed with breast cancer,” says Mylissa Tsai, a Sailing Heals Board of Directors member and participant. “Clinically, I endured a year of the standard course of surgery, chemo, radiation treatments, and oral drugs. Emotionally, I experienced a year of extreme peaks and nadirs. So when I was diagnosed again in 2012, I actually felt stronger—because of personal experience and because of Sailing Heals.”