We recently wrote about cruises for cancer, including a cancer cruise that sought to raise funding for cancer research, as well as a cancer cruise that united patients and survivors of breast cancer for a few days of fellowship. The latter cruise is a cruise for cancer patients (although this isn’t its exclusive focus), and we just unearthed another cruise for cancer patients, one that exists for the sole purpose of providing some relief to those who are suffering from or are otherwise affected by cancer. This cruise for cancer patients is offered through the non-profit Kick Cancer Overboard, which was created by the travel agency Excel Travel. It’s a very unique and generous program, so we wanted to explain this cruise for cancer patients and how it works.
Put simply, Kick Cancer Overboard (KCO) offers free cruises to individuals with cancer. The cruise has taken place for two years in a row, and it is scheduled to happen next year as well. Obviously, there is a limited budget for the cruise (KCO raises money throughout the year through fundraisers), so not every person who wants a free cruise will receive one. Instead, an application procedure was devised. Any person who has been “affected” by cancer can apply. Eligible candidates of course include both cancer patients and cancer survivors, but they also include the families, friends, and caregivers of people who have suffered (or are suffering) from cancer. Any person who meets this criterion can go to the KCO website (linked to below) to submit their story via email. These emails are stripped of any information that would identify the person applying, and then they are examined by a five-person committee. The committee considers each story according to a set of pre-established guidelines. The number of winners has varied for the last two years (on the first cruise 12 people received free cruises, and on the second 45 did), but the goal of KCO is to fill an entire cruise ship.
Paying passengers – those who are friends with recipients of the free cruise, supporters of the cause, etc. – also go on the cruise. Basically, KCO organizes a group of people – some pay for the cruise, others get the free cruise – who will all take the same cruise, which goes to Bermuda at the end of May. It is a Royal Caribbean cruise that lasts five days. All the people associated with KCO will pay a group rate (expect, of course, for the people who are given free cruises), and the more people who pay for the cruise, the more people KCO can pay for. Each year, so far, nearly 100 people have participated, and the Royal Caribbean ship that is used for the cruise (Explorer of the Seas) can hold more than 3,000 people, so it seems probable that there are also non-KCO passengers on board the ship.
It goes without saying that being afflicted by cancer is a harrowing, unpleasant experience. When battling cancer, though, it is important to maintain as optimistic an outlook as the circumstances allow. One way to remain optimistic is to enjoy yourself – to laugh and relax with your loved ones – and cruises are known for enabling this type of enjoyment. This is exactly why Kick Caner Overboard was founded – the non-profit wanted to take a different approach, raising money not for research, but for cancer patients to simply enjoy life. If you are interested in applying for this cruise for cancer patients, or if you merely want to learn more about the organization, visit the Kick Cancer Overboard website here: