Cancer is a reality that has become much too common for families. In 2019, there will be an estimated 1,762,450 new cancer cases diagnosed and 606,880 cancer deaths in the United States and 6,5140 of those diagnosed will be in the state of Rhode Island. (Statistics from the American Cancer Society website, May 2019.)

A cancer diagnosis not only affects the patient but, it can take a serious toll on their families and caretakers.  Sailing Heals offers enjoyable sailing experiences to VIP patient guests, their caretakers and staff who would benefit most from a highly memorable and healing day on the water.

The crew from the schooner Madeleine, owned by Classic Cruises of Newport, has been partnering with Sailing Heals for eight years to provide uplifting experiences cancer patients and caregivers in Newport and surrounding communities. Patients guests and caregivers, known as VIPs, are offered an always-exciting sail in Newport Harbor, thanks to the generosity of Madeleine’s owners and crew and a complimentary lunch at a nearby restaurant courtesy of Sailing Heals.

Classic Cruises of Newport manager Kim Paltridge has this to say about the alliance: “Cancer and other serious health issues have impacted nearly all of us. We are so pleased to be able to partner with Sailing Heals to offer this memorable afternoon on the water to so many cancer patients–many of whom are our neighbors that we just haven’t met yet. We love seeing the smiles of the guests grow double the size after they’ve enjoyed their 90 min. sail in Newport harbor.”

Sailing Heals Board President, Dr. Lori Wirth of Mass General Hospital Cancer Center, said this about the organization, “Sailing Heals offers a wonderful free service for anyone going through a serious health issue. Being able to personally prescribe a day of restorative healing on a beautiful boat on the water is extremely motivating. The most rewarding part of my work is hearing how my patients had the time of their life by being on the water.”

Sailing Heals, which receives 85% of its funding through private donations, has hosted events in over 20 ports in 9 different states for 3700 VIP guests since they began in 2011.

Invitations are by word-of-mouth through medical or cancer support personnel. The group typically hosts about 30 sailing events through-out the year. Featured “themed” sails include a “Pirates & Princesses Treasure Hunt Adventure” for kids going through a serious health challenge, and the annual Wicked Strong Sail for Boston Marathon Bombing survivors.

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