By Kimberlie England
“You know I’ll never be cancer-free. It’s just something I’ve been living with for the last five years as I’m fighting for each day. But today…this sail with my friends was the first time since my diagnosis that I didn’t feel like I had cancer. I wasn’t Deb with Cancer. I was just Deb.”
Sailing can change lives. Sailors often talk about the peace they feel on the water—or the heart-pumping that comes from a race or a challenging sail. Some say that sailing has transformed them. Maybe it’s changed their life trajectory or maybe it’s been one small moment that provided a new perspective.
It’s easy to see how even a three-hour sail could affect someone with a cancer diagnosis. Sail Beyond Cancer has provided private sailing experiences and lasting memories to over 1,800 cancer patients and their loved ones. Its mission is to provide life-affirming sailing experiences by harnessing the powers of wind, water, and sail for anyone who is being challenged by cancer.
I had the opportunity to sit with Suzanne Snyder, Executive Director of Sail Beyond Cancer, to learn more about how her nonprofit transforms the lives of cancer patients and those who love them.
What led up to the founding of Sail Beyond Cancer?
“I’ll never forget the day I found the lump. I knew I didn’t have time for this. I was raising three children alone. But that day started my journey fighting cancer. There were countless rounds of treatment for my breast cancer and the road to recovery was so very long. I started to look for ways to rebuild my strength and courage when I determined that sailing could help. Connecting with the water was an integral part of my cancer recovery…