Cancer patients get a lesson in smooth sailing

Patients and their families aboard “The Black Watch” as it rounds Manhattan last week.

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When it comes to treating cancer, a day of carefree fun can be just what the doctor ordered.

Sailing Heals, a non-profit based in Massachusetts, takes patients and their caregivers out for a day on the water. Last week, the organization held its first sailing trip in New York City.

On Oct. 6, Sailing Heals partnered with Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and Cancer Cares to take 18 people out for an excursion on the Hudson River aboard “The Black Watch” sailboat.

Volunteer captains donate their time to take people out on the water. Trisha Boisvert, director of Sailing Heals, refers to them as “admirable admirals.”

“There’s something really special about strangers who give their time and boats and say, ‘Today is all about you,’” Boisvert said.

Even though many patients sign up, turnout depends on the patients’ health that day, said Boisvert. Boats are always equipped with Dramamine in case of seasickness.

Anthony Terio, 54, is one of the patients who signed up for the trip last Thursday.

“He had a blast. He steered the boat by the Statue of Liberty,” Boisvert said. “He’s lived in New York his whole life, but never had an experience like that.”

In the future, she wants to open up the sailing trips to veterans and troubled kids, and she hopes the organization can do more in the city. “People go through so many trials and tribulations,” she said. “We want to expose people to the great sport of sailing.”

 


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