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Breast Cancer Survivors Make 'Pink' Headlines Again with Holland America


Almost exactly a year ago, we wrote a blog about Holland America and breast cancer. About how breast cancer survivors were invited on board when the Oosterdam was in port in Seattle, where Holland America's head office is located. About how this cruise line has raised millions to help those who think pink in trying to defeat the disease. Because there are other cruise lines with fundraising causes, it hadn't been our intention to make's cause an annual event here, and then…

And then breast cancer became more personal.

This summer, our niece was diagnosed with breast cancer. The fact that she is our niece, or anyone's niece, means she is too young. Too young to face this challenge. Too young to find out you have cancer. And yet, cancer never checks out your birth certificate, does it?

So that makes it appropriate to re-visit Holland America. On every sailing on every ship, there is a 5-kilometer walk to raise funds for breast cancer. Entry is $20 and $16 of it goes to cancer organizations around the cruise line's world. Royal Caribbean does the same type of thing for the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

This month, the Oosterdam was in Seattle for its now-annual invitation to breast cancer survivors. This is the sixth year they've been invited for lunch. And to celebrate. The captain, Arjen Van der Loo, told a writer who was among the invitees that every week on the Oosterdam there are four to six breast cancer survivors among the passengers.

The cruise line doesn't make a big deal of this. There is no press release, at least none that we saw. The only fanfare and publicity seems to be generated by the survivors. Yet it's worthy of mentioning, and supporting, time and again.

It can never happen too often. Ask any family.

Celebrity Summit
7 nights
December 21, 2013
San Juan (return): St. CroixSt. Kitts, Roseau, TortolaSt. Thomas
Inside: $799
Cost per day: $114

Day to Remember for Holland America

One day this week, two couples who hadn't seen each other in too long sat down in a coffee shop to catch up on their lives. It happens that two of the four people have cancer, and coincidentally the day they all met was World Cancer Day.

Holland America took notice…not of the 50-50 cancer ratio, nor even of the two couples meeting for coffee.

Of World Cancer Day.

That was the day the cruise line launched its latest cancer-fighting initiative, entitled On Deck for a Cause.

What it means is that, on every sailing on each of Holland America's 15 ships, passengers will have an opportunity to participate in fundraising 5k walks to support six national cancer organizations, in the U.S., Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, Australia and the United Kingdom.

The program starts later this month.

Such admirable fundraising activities are not new in the cruise world, especially with Holland America, which has a myriad of programs. In this one, passengers will donate $20 and walk (or not) five kilometers around the ship on a sea day picked for the occasion. On most ships, that's 9 to 12 laps. Besides the satisfaction of fighting the dreaded disease (80 per cent of the money raised will be distributed), participants will be given an On Deck for a Cause teeshirt and an invitation to a reception.

There is hardly a person anywhere who hasn't been touched, directly or indirectly, by cancer. That's surely true for the thousands of passengers who board cruise ships every week, and couples who sit down in coffee shops everywhere.

Holland America Nieuw Amsterdam
15 nights
April 30, 2013
Fort Lauderdale (return): Ponta Delgada, Cadiz, Malaga, Cartagena, Barcelona
Inside: $711
Cost per day: $47

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