2017 Honored Skipper

2017 Honored Skipper

Participants in The Leukemia Cup Regatta sail in honor of a local patient whose bravery in fighting blood cancer provides inspiration and motivation. 

benheader

Ben unfortunately is no stranger to hearing the life-changing and terrifying words "You have cancer." This past May was the second time Ben has found himself walking this journey. Ben was first diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a form of blood cancer, in November 2010. After undergoing surgery to stabilize the lesion in his neck, several months of chemotherapy and a stem cell transplant, Ben achieved remission from multiple myeloma in the fall of 2011. Ben retired from his law practice at the end of 2015 because of the chronic neck pain originally caused by the myeloma, but had returned to that point in life where he was dreaming and beginning to plan for the future.

Now, a new battle begins. On May 10, 2017 he was four days away from departing on a long-time dream - a six-week sail down the Caribbean Islands - when his routine blood tests showed something his doctor did not like. The next day, Ben was diagnosed with leukemia, underwent further tests and immediately started the first round of chemotherapy and high-dose steroid treatment on May 12.  Ben's diagnosis is B Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, a fast-moving leukemia more prevalent in children than adults. Over the course of this summer, Ben has moved through several phases of treatment and most recently received a Stem Cell Transplant on August 3rd.  He is now in the waiting period to see if the transplant takes. Many challenges come with a transplant and one of the most serious being a severely weakened, basically nonexistent immune system. While Ben's blood counts are rebuilding, he is at risk for infections. The first hundred days post-transplant are a critical time. There is still a very difficult, long road ahead!

Ben continues to remain positive and focused on a cure!  As Ben stays mindful of the blessings through this journey, he shares of his hope for a cure: "Although I had lived for six years with myeloma in remission, medical statistics showed I would have to battle it again someday. Living with hope for long-term remission has its challenges and its spiritual blessings. But now we are working on a cure for both leukemia and myeloma!  Once we get through all of this, I should be living with a low medical risk that I will ever see either of these blood cancers again."

topteamBen has enjoyed sailing in Charleston Harbor all his life.  For the last ten years, as co-owner first of Mongo and now Skimmer, Ben has greatly enjoyed being a part of CORA: enjoying the friendships, competition, and raising money for LLS.  In his fight against two different blood cancers, Ben has benefitted from the research funded by LLS and is very greatful for all LLS does!

Learn more about Ashlyn Depew , the 2016 Honored Skipper:

 FY17 Honored Skipper Ashlyn

Ashlyn

Age 14 - Hodgkin Lymphoma

 

In August 2015, Ashlyn was exactly where she needed to be; she just didn't know it yet.  New city, new school, and a new experience living on a sailboat -- life in Charleston had a lot to offer.  It wasn't until October 2015 that Ashlyn and her family realized how important the Charleston sailing community as well as MUSC would become.  After a friend whose mother had died from cancer noticed a lump on Ashlyn's neck, she alerted her mother, setting off a chain of doctors' appointments and tests.  On November 2, 2015, Ashlyn received her diagnosis: stage II A Hodgkin Lymphoma.  Over the next few months, Ashlyn and her family bravely endured rounds of chemotherapy, disappointingly inconsistent responses to the chemo, aggressive treatment plan changes, several hospitalizations, blood transfusions and 14 sessions of Radiation Therapy.  She finished radiation on April 8, 2016 and after two PET scans, Ashlyn received a thrilling ALL CLEAR from her physician at MUSC on July 14, 2016. 

She is excited to get back to school, her friends, her life, and all the things she enjoys  -- including sailing. 

   
   

 


 

 

National Supporters


The Leukemia Cup Regatta
is endorsed by

Celebrity Endorsers
Betsy Alison  |  Steve Benjamin  |  Steve Colgate  |  Carrie Howe  |  Terry Hutchinson  |  Gary Jobson  |  
Suzy Leech  |  Katie Pettibone  |  Paige and Zach Railey   |  Dawn Riley   |  Matt Rutherford   |  Anna Tunnicliffe

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