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Organization for kids with cancer or other serious illnesses treats children and their families to a day of departure from hospitals and treatments
BRIDGEPORT, CT – July 8, 2013 — After years working towards this goal, Tim Dokter realized his dream for Valiant Voyages for kids with cancer and other serious illnesses. Departing from Captain’s Cove Seaport, the organization took out its first family for a day of adventure on the high seas of Long Island Sound.
Inspired by organizations like the Imus Ranch for kids with cancer, Dokter has established Valiant Voyages to give these children an opportunity to leave their illness behind for a while and take on a challenge that will give them a sense of self-worth, confidence and purpose – and have fun in the process. The program brings children out on the water, teaches them how to sail, exposes them to the marine environment, and allows them to feel good about themselves and their accomplishments as they turn their attention to the demands of sailing a large vessel.
“Children dealing with serious illnesses are typically not treated as ‘normal’ by their doctors and parents,” said Tim Dokter, a resident of Redding, CT. “Their friends and fellow students may handle them with kid gloves knowing they face a potentially life-threatening disease. This can affect these kids to the extent that they lose their self-esteem and confidence as they cope with the treatments and cautions associated with their illness, and the reactions of those they interact with on a daily basis.”
While at sea, children will learn how to prepare for sailing, shove off, hoist the sails, steer the ship, read the instruments and navigate the waters. At the end of the trip, they will participate in bringing the boat into port and help with the docking procedures. The goal is for up to six children to participate in each voyage. Alternatively, there will be trips dedicated to families where they can join in the adventure as well.
“Parents and siblings also need a day like this,” said Dokter. “In fact, they may need it even more than the young patients.”
Dokter’s dream for Valiant Voyages began when he bought a 60-foot ketch, Delphis, in 1999 when he found her in dry dock in Westbrook, CT. At the time she was in sad, run-down condition. He saw the boat’s potential even in its dilapidated state and began a five-year renovation with an eye towards taking out kids with cancer to give them the adventure of their lives. His experience as a scuba diver and a sailor on the Great Lakes and in the waters of Long Island Sound, plus his background in woodworking and home restoration, made him the perfect candidate to take on this challenge. He is also a former respiratory therapist and licensed paramedic, which has exposed him to the hospital environment and its strain on patients and families.
About Valiant Voyages
Valiant Voyages is a non-profit educational, self-affirming program that teaches children, who have cancer or another serious illness, how to sail a large vessel. It allows them to experience the marine environment, get away from the rigors of dealing with their illness and have fun in the process. Visit www.valiant-voyages.com to learn more about the program or schedule a trip. Contact Tim Dokter, firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to make a donation.