OTHERS

Watch your spirits sail

EVERY year when my children's spring break from school came around, I faced the same dilemma: do I take a full week of vacation during one of the busiest months of my speaking business, or do I ruin their vacation by flying in and out from wherever we are to satisfy my client's needs? This year I decided to try something different.

A cruise line travel agency approached me with a unique concept that seemed to meet everyone's needs. I would function as the "emcee" and host of the "Celebrate Life Cruise" targeted toward cancer survivors and their families. I would provide two seminars on the ship, both scheduled for the days we were at sea. For each person that I recruited to come on the cruise, the cruise line would make a donation to the charity of my choice.

The day of departure, the cruise director greeted me with open arms and allowed me to set up a hospitality desk and place signage on the ship. That way, other cancer survivors on board who were not a part of my group could feel free to join us for our celebration. I had preprinted several announcements for my group, which the staff ensured my guests received throughout the week including a greeting, information about the two programmes I was giving, special meeting times and places, and a farewell on the last day at sea.

Our week in the western Caribbean was a fabulous experience for everyone involved. The cancer patients and their families got to meet others from all over the world facing the same challenges and celebrating their victories. We all laughed at the humorous stories of our cancer journeys and realised that we are not alone in this experience.

My family got to spend the entire week together on vacation in an exotic locale. I was able to provide two programmes on laughter therapy in a beautiful theatre location not only for my guests, but for all the guests on board. And I was able to present a generous cheque to the charity of my choice upon my return.

Next time you are looking for a way to "jump start" your spirits, look to the high seas and a lifetime experience you will never forget. Do not forget to laugh.

CHRISTINE K. CLIFFORD

The writer is President/CEO of The Cancer Club. Visit her at www.cancerclub.com