less rant, more rave

I know that I often use my blogs to rant and rail and I get quite a bit of flack for it so today I am going to write something very different.  I am going to use this space to bring to your attention an inspiring story and I hope that you will dig into it a little deeper and see what you can do to help.
Last summer I hosted a group of sailors at my house for a BBQ. They were a youth group and came from different backgrounds all there with one intent; to become better sailors. I was chatting to many of them when I overheard a girl talking about her goal to sail around the world to raise money and awareness for the charities that had helped her little sister in her battle with brain cancer. The girl’s name is Ariel Nechemia and her sister’s name is Noah. Both girls were born in Arizona but grew up in Beijing, China raised by a single mother.
Noah, according to her sister, was an exceptional athlete and often traveled all over Asia to compete and more often than not she brought home medals. She had recently returned from one such competition when she was diagnosed with Medulloblastoma, a relatively rare type of brain cancer. Noah was just 10 years old. She went from competing and training to not even being able to lift her arms. She had two surgeries within a week’s time and could not talk for a month afterwards. Due to the location of the tumor all of her movements and the general control of her body were greatly impaired.
Many of our lives have been touched by cancer and we all feel so helpless about it. We feel that there is nothing that we can do that will make a difference. It’s almost as if we feel defeated before even starting, but Ariel is different. She started a project which she named The Mens Sana Project. Mens Sana is latin and roughly translates to ‘Sound Mind.’ Noah received exceptional care that included being able to stay at Camp Ronald McDonald for Good Times, a summer camp in California for kids who are experiencing or have experienced cancer. As Ariel explained, one of the hardest parts of cancer treatment is that often you are away from your family  when getting treatment and we all know how important family is when recovering from such a devastating illness. The Ronald McDonald camp allows for patients and their families to attend and to meet and integrate with other families who are also going through a similar ordeal.
The sailing community around the world is diverse and very different but we all share similar values. A love of sailing and a love of humanity. The world is round for a very good reason; it allows people to sail around it in order to challenge themselves or to raise awareness about some issue and in both instances sailing has been a very useful and important means to an end. Ariel wants to sail around the word to bring hope and awareness to cancer survivors everywhere and to raise money for the numerous charity organizations that helped her sister. I think it’s an awesome goal for a teenage girl and I hope that you will consider supporting her however you can. As we all know the hardest part of a circumnavigation is making it to the starting line.
You can find out more about the Mens Sana Project. – Brian Hancock