Group photo2We know the experience of having Cancer can be a lonely journey, not only for patients, but for friends and family, too. Patients feel the stress of treatments, appointments and the uncertainty of cancer, while caretakers spend hours watching oxygen tanks, traveling to endless doctor appointments and cheerleading from the sidelines.

We give our patients and caregivers a unique opportunity to share important time together while enjoying the beauty of sailing on Lake Champlain.

Suzanne Johnson, Founder

It can be exhausting at times. HealingWindsVermont wants to be the wind under your wings to lift you up, and give you a cost-free “break on the lake,” if even for a few hours on the open water. We understand the value of a sailing reprieve for those affected by cancer and all who love them.

What Makes HealingWindsVermont Work?  These are the things that make our organization and its services unique.

1. A Dedicated Vessel
We are frequently asked: “Why not use other peoples’ boats instead of having the cost and upkeep of owning your own sailboat?” My short answer is it is the difference between selling your product at the local farmers market vs. opening a brick and mortar store. Having a signature vessel serves our interests and those of our guests in a number of ways. It allows us to equip the vessel in a way that maximizes both the comfort and the safety of our guests. The boat, with its banners and flags serves as a reminder that we are in place and available to provide respite for patients and their caregivers. Having our own boat allows us to control all aspects of the guests’ experience and assure the best possible outcomes.

2. A Dedicated, Consistent Location
Guests can follow simple, concise directions from our website. There is plenty of parking and because we have parking attendants who understand and support what we are doing they make guests feel welcome immediately upon arrival. Because we have a good relationship with our landlord we are able to equip our space for the best possible access for our clients, some of whom have limited mobility. We are able to have vehicles travel beyond the general public’s limits to the head of our dock, thereby eliminating a long walk.

3. Professional, USCG Licensed Captains
Because there is no charge for the service we provide there is no legal requirement for the use of captains who are licensed by the U.S. Coast Guard. However, many of our guests have never been aboard a sailboat and we want them to have confidence in the person at the helm. We consider them to be precious cargo and want them to know we are doing everything in our power to maximize their safety and enjoyment of the sailing experience. Insurance carriers recognize the value of licensed captains and offer coverage at greatly discounted rates.

4. Volunteers who have a Personal Connection to Cancer
It’s difficult these days to find anyone who hasn’t been touched in some way by cancer. Most of our volunteers have either lost loved ones or helped friends through their own bouts with cancer. Several are themselves, survivors. The empathy that exists in this dedicated group is immediately visible to our guests and many guests go on to be friends and volunteers themselves. At least one volunteer in addition to the captain is onboard for each of our sails.

5. Community Involvement and Support
Our inaugural season was funded entirely with monies contributed by local individuals and businesses. As we grow we expect to tap into grants available from both local and national organizations, but the ongoing support of our local community will remain a hallmark of HealingWindsVermont.

6. A Strong Relationship with our Referring Organizations
In reaching out to those organizations working with cancer patients whether they be doctors, nurses, hospitals, cancer centers, hospice and palliative care organizations or patient support organizations we have been embraced as partners and collaborators. Professionals who work on a daily basis with cancer patients understand the value of the kind of respite experience that HealingWindsVermont provides.