Competitors sail for a cure for blood disease

Sailboat competitors
Sailboat competitors
Gwenn Voigts and Nick Myers
Gwenn Voigts and Nick Myers
Auction item
Auction item

PASS CHRISTIAN, MS (WLOX) - Several sailors gathered for an event today that's bigger than boating. The Pass Christian Yacht Club put on the annual Leukemia Cup Regatta which benefits an organization that's working to cure blood diseases. The regatta is the yacht club's third year hosting the national, two-day event which is held at yacht clubs throughout the U.S.

Despite minimal winds at the beginning of the race, participation was higher this year at the Leukemia Cup Regatta with more than 50 boats on the water.

More importantly sailors and sponsors have already helped raise more than $100,000 for The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. This year's goal is to raise $200,000.

"I was diagnosed with Acute lymphoblastic leukemia on March 19, 2012," cancer survivor and event hero Nick Myers said.

"All of a sudden I got sick and was diagnosed with multiple myeloma and I had to have a stem cell transplant," event co-chairman Gwenn Voigts said.

The two are both in remission from their blood diseases. For them seeing the boats on the water is encouraging.

"We've got some very experienced competitors out there. We also have a lot of first time sailors. People are really coming out for the mission and to raise money and awareness for blood cancer," Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Campaign Director Katie Triplett said.

Last year the Pass Christian Yacht Club raised more than $150,000 putting their regatta in the top ten for most funds raised in the country. The money will go towards finding a cure for various blood diseases and it will also help local patients currently battling these diseases.

"I've seen it help so many patients. Right now I'm in the first connector phase of it. Where I can mentor with other people that are getting ready for a stem cell transplant," Voigts said.

But finding a cure is part of the Leukemia and Lymphoma's society's main focus and it's also part of its slogan.

"The slogan is 'Someday is Today'. Because past slogans have been 'Someday We'll Find A Cure'. We'll we hope that someday is today," Myers said.

Battling leukemia can be a long process, but it's a process the sailors want to make sure the patients don't go through alone and won't have to deal with much longer.

If you're interested in learning how you can help or make a donation CLICK HERE.

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