Fort Lauderdale, March 21, 2008- A group of 225 HIV positive men and women went sailing away from the worries of the disease while obtaining key health information and raising funds for HIV non profit projects. In this 10th year, the retreat raised $6,000 for Doctor’s Without Borders. Over $30,000.00 has been raised over the past 10 years.
“It is great to have people who have been challenged for years with fears of death enjoy life in the company of others who are on the same boat as they are”, said Nelson Vergel, AIDS activist and lecturer on the cruise. “I am glad our project leader Paul Stalbaum has been able to make this possible for so many people to spend a week sailing the seas at affordable prices while they get key medical information and bond with others” added Vergel.
“As a doctor who treats hundreds of HIV patients, I must say that spending a week with so many people having fun while being helped with medical information is an ideal scenario”, said Dr Michael Wohlfieler, a leading South Florida HIV physician and featured speaker on the cruise.
Sam, a long term survivor from San Francisco and participant of last year’s cruise said: “We remember all too well when the virus was considered more or less a signal that it was time to get one’s affairs in order. Thankfully those days are behind us. A week like the one I had on this cruise reminds me that life is rich and full and when the good times roll it can be downright amazing”. “I will definitely not miss this year’s cruise!” added Sam.
“This year’s cruise promises to be even better with a very exciting itinerary sailing over Halloween from Ft Lauderdale with stops at Grand Turk (Turks and Caicos), St Maarten, St Thomas and Princess Cays”, said cruise organizer Paul Stalbaum. “We will actually have separate fun activities for gay and straight groups with some intermingling ” added Stalbaum.