HWVT on WCAX – Healing Winds Vermont

HWVT on WCAX – Healing Winds Vermont


As we rigged our sails to embark on a new journey this 2020 Covid-19 sailing season, WCAX caught wind of our pivot and had a few questions for us. Here is an excerpt from the story.


Published: Jul. 16, 2020 at 8:29 AM EDT|Updated: Jul. 16, 2020 at 2:19 PM EDT

BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) – The coronavirus pandemic has caused waves of anxiety and stress for health care and other essential workers. Now, the Burlington nonprofit Healing Winds is back on the water to help.

“We have had a slow and thoughtful and mindful start to our season, so we have decided because cancer patients and their doctors may not be comfortable being in the boat we’ve reduced our program,” said Sylvia Oblak, the group’s executive director.

Oblak says last year they were able to make 64 mission sails with cancer patients. But since the coronavirus is more dangerous for those at high risk of infection, taking cancer patients out on the water just didn’t seem safe, so they decided to adjust their mission for more smooth sailing.

“We have pivoted because we understand that stress is a huge factor for our health care workers and we want to say, Healing Winds wants to say thank you to the health care workers in our community,” said Oblak.

They have decided to offer tours to health care workers who work with cancer patients, whatever their role may be.

Copyright 2020 WCAX. All rights reserved.
See the rest of the story HERE.
Healthcare Heroes
HWVT Celebrates Healthcare Heroes

HWVT Celebrates Healthcare Heroes


While our organization usually offers cancer patient support via therapeutic sailing excursions, Covid-19 has us pivoting to give back to healthcare heroes who serve the cancer community!

Please help us raise $10,000 to provide our community’s Healthcare Heroes with free private sailing excursions on beautiful Lake Champlain in Burlington, VT.

Healing Winds is so thankful for ALL Healthcare Heroes, who have risked everything to keep their communities safe and healthy. Instead of letting the pandemic stop us, we want to take care of the people who are taking care of us. 

If you are a Healthcare Hero who works in any department serving cancer patients in any capacity, we want to take YOU sailing!  If you know a Healthcare Hero who would benefit from leaving stress on the shore, PLEASE NOMINATE THEM TODAY!

The Bless

The Bless

Cancer is an unbelievable, heartbreaking, and trying diagnosis. Experiences and prognoses differ, but overall, it can be perceived as a big mess, wreaking havoc through a “normal” life.

Could there be a “bless” in a mess?

It’s an interesting question and one that has often been written about. I think it’s worth exploring anew as a way to give some meaning, hope, peace, or healing in some way. It can also apply to what the general worldwide population is going through regarding COVID-19.

At Healing Winds Vermont, we try to make a positive difference by offering a therapeutic sailing escape and regularly sharing information that might make things a tad bit lighter for you and your family.

Please nominate someone for one of our relaxing and spirit-lifting sails today.

For this week’s blog post, I specifically reached out to some local cancer patients, survivors, and caregivers.


Here are some of their thoughts:

  • It forced me to ask for help. I always hated asking for help. But, with cancer, I had to. It lightened the load.
  • I stopped sweating the small stuff.
  • I was always go-go-go. I felt I could slow down without being perceived as lazy (mostly by me).
  • Breathe! I realized that I needed to take time to relax and just breathe.
  • I learned how to delegate and how to appreciate it.
  • The love and kindness that others showed to me and my family was incredibly touching and beautiful and sometimes even breathtaking. I don’t know quite how to describe it, but it is something that will stay with me forever.
  • I have gratitude for my partner, friends, and family.
  • I stopped having stress about everything. I just focused on getting better. It was a great gift.
  • LOVE.
  • I finally had time to finish the books on my nightstand.
  • I realized being brave meant I could be stoic AND allow myself to break down in tears.
  • I am learning how to breathe and find calm when anxiety and fear would start to overwhelm me.
  • I found a way to cook broccoli that tasted good.
  • I reconnected with my sister after 14 years. We now talk weekly.
  • I was able to experience what I think I always thought to be correct, but maybe I didn’t KNOW for sure – that there is excellent power in seeking and showing joy and love every day. That was one thing I could control. I found that it helped lift me when I was feeling scared or sad. And I think it deepened my faith knowing that I was never walking alone.
  • I understood that we never really can know what another person is dealing with – appearances are deceitful. Most of us are probably waging some kind of personal battle at any given moment.
  • My dachshund puppy.

Whether you are experiencing cancer or COVID, I invite you to entertain what might be a “bless” right now.

Maybe today your answer is, “nothing.”

Maybe tomorrow offers a different one.

Blessings to all.