Sailing Heals - Pirates and Princesses 2016

Pirates, princesses set sail to heal in Marblehead

MARBLEHEAD — When he asked the kids lined up at his feet in a room of the Boston Yacht Club how to blow up the balloon, Don Ganz, aka Dondo the Magician, stuck a balloon in his mouth then spit it out.

“Who said, ‘put the balloon in my mouth,’ that’s gross,” said Dondo as everyone in the room laughed. One girl who lost a leg had crutches by her chair. Another girl sat on a couch, wearing a pirate hat and waving a pennant, with a mask covering her face. She was just one month removed from a full heart transplant.

Wednesday was officially “Pirates Day” in Marblehead, and 11 families took part in a Pirates and Princesses Treasure Hunt Adventure. The day was designed for kids with ongoing health challenges being treated at Boston hospitals.

During the event, hosted by the nonprofit Sailing Heals, several volunteer host captains ferried the children and their families to Children’s Island for a treasure hunt adventure.

The mission of Sailing Heals, which originated in Marblehead, is to give people in need of an escape a day on the water.

Photo credits: Hot Pineapple Productions