Despite difficult times, charity is alive and well. It’s June, so Leukemia Cup events are pretty visible across the country. For anyone not familiar with this cause, Leukemia Cup Regattas are locally sponsored sailboat races that raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
The races are held year round but June seems to be a time when many yacht clubs organize these regattas, hoping to raise money for the national organization from their local communities.
Racers participate to win a variety of prizes including gift and discount certificates and apparel from national sponsors. But the real prize is a fantasy sail with the organization’s spokesman, world class sailor and ESPN commentator, Gary Jobson. Jobson is best known for his America’s Cup participation in 1977 with Ted Turner and sailing in the infamous Fastnet Race. He has been the Leukemia Cup’s prominent chairman since 1994.
In 2003, Jobson was diagnosed with leukemia and as he put it, “became a beneficiary of the research advances I had helped support.” He is now cancer-free. He continues to work on behalf of the organization and has inspired not only fundraising among racers but also additional acts of charity as in the case of Rick McCredie, a sailmaker and avid racer whose wife Joanne died earlier this year. Rick decided to “pay it forward” with another act of goodwill by establishing a perpetual memorial trophy in his wife’s name for first place for the all women’s crew in the Dana West Yacht Club chapter of the races.
It takes a lot of people to get something like this going – all those involved with the Leukemia Regatta, the yacht club personnel who put on the races, the racers who raise funds from their friends and families and one man who cared enough to pay it forward. Times are tough but it makes that much more important for charity to be in the spotlight.