Burlington, Vermont


Respite for Cancer, Inc., EIN 46-5040637 (503c)
[email protected]
802-673-7245 (SAIL)

Operating Location

Burlington Community Boathouse
A Dock, Slip 2

Office/Mailing Address

Contact us by snail-mail here:

174 Battery Street, 2nd Floor
Burlington, VT 05401

Healing Winds Vermont launched in 2014, with the donation of a 29 foot O’Day vessel dubbed “Jubilee”. For three sailing seasons Jubilee sailed out of Perkins Pier on the Burlington waterfront. In that short amount of time, she took over 530 guests sailing! As our demand quickly grew, so did our need for a larger vessel.

In May of 2017, Healing Winds retired Jubilee after the very generous donation, by Rives Potts, of a 39 foot O’Day vessel, appropriately named “Gypsy Wind.”
With the support of our friends at the Burlington Parks, Recreations and Waterfront Department, “Gypsy Wind” found a new home at the Burlington Community Boathouse. We couldn’t be more thrilled by our new location! Find us on A Dock, Slip 2, right in front of the ECHO Center.


Have questions about Healing Winds? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions for more information! Don’t see the answer your looking for? Contact us at [email protected]

We love the enthusiasm of our sailor friends and volunteers, and encourage you to sign up as volunteer captain or crew! At this time our model is to use our own dedicated vessel for our guest sails. 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. Having our own boat also allows us to control all aspects of the guests’ experience and assure the best possible outcomes.

Healing Winds primarily serves those who are currently in treatment, living with cancer, or who are terminally ill. However, we encourage you to fill out a nomination form for yourself or a loved one.

No! We serve guests of ALL ages with ALL types of cancer!

Congratulations! A volunteer will contact you within 48 hours to discuss scheduling your sail. They will be able to answer any questions you may have about sailing with Healing Winds. We look forward to sailing with you!

We have many volunteer opportunities that do not require sailing experience! Healing Winds is volunteer driven organization. We rely on the support of volunteers with many different talents and interests. Please fill out a volunteer form and we will contact you to discuss all of the volunteer opportunities.

Our sailing excursions are 3 hours long- departing at 10:00am, 2:00pm, and 5:30pm, Tuesday – Sunday. We can accommodate up to 10 guests per sail.

We strive to make all of our sailing excursions relaxing, refreshing and memorable for all of our guests! Our dedicated vessel, “Gypsy Wind,” is fully equipped with all safety equipment to put your mind at ease . We will always work with you to make sure all of your guests are as comfortable as possible and will tailor your sail to your needs. Our volunteer crew will be on hand to answer any questions or concerns that you may have.


Suzanne Johnson
Founder, Board Member, and Licensed USCG Captain

Suzanne is a survivor. Not just spinal meningitis and cancer, but in many others ways in her personal life. Being challenged over and over gave her the opportunity to really understand ‘priorities’ in life and what truly is important. ‘Giving back’ and making a difference in someone’s life with a sense of purpose IS what is important to Suzanne.

With a strong vision, Suzanne founded HealingWindsVT.org a new non-profit using sailing as a safe, fun and therapeutic experience to ensure that cancer patients, caregivers and family members have the opportunity to take a break from their challenges of everyday life of living with the uncertainty of cancer.

Suzanne lives in Shelburne, Vermont with her three children.  She can often be found engaging in a variety of outdoor activities, including sailing, skiing, group fitness, kite boarding and more.

Board of Directors

Stew Jensen
Board Member
Mark Perkell
Board Member

Mark is a legal and business adviser who offers his services to business clients primarily in start-up to mid-stage development. He advises and guides business people and entrepreneurs on a wide array of critical topics including: strategic business development, intellectually property, regulatory and strategic partner/joint venture relationships, business entity formation (sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, LLC’s), contract drafting and negotiation. Mark currently serves as a board member of R.O.C. Inc., the Kids Rehab Gym and Healing Winds. Easily recognizable in a crowd for his signature hats, Mark can also frequently be seen with a camera around his neck photographing owls and such. He lives in South Burlington, VT with his artist wife Suzanne Clark and their two felines fur persons: Fume’ Blanc and Lily.

Private: Barbara Swan
Board Member
Private: Elvira Tripp
Board Member
Erin Tsai
Board Member
Kathie S. Weibust
Board Member
Dwayne Williams
Board Member

16 years ago, Dwayne’s family lost a son, brother and a friend to many. Jarred Williams passed away from a brain tumor on his 13th birthday. For ten years Dwayne’s family dedicated their lives to assisting other families who had a child with a chronic and life threatening illness. (2002-2012)

Wanting to continue to support cancer patients, Dwayne’s family has spent the past few years volunteering, advocating, and being there in any way they could.

June of 2017 changed Dwayne’s life, he met Suzanne Johnson on the Burlington Bike path, and with support of his family, he is dedicating time and effort in continuing to support the many families affected by this terrible disease through Healing Winds Vermont. As he personally knows, cancer affects so many people in different ways.


Mike “Spike” Hendrickson