2006 Leukemia Cup Regatta
Patient Honoree – Eric Dahlquist

Regatta weekend – Sept. 15-17 – on White Bear Lake is a celebration by sailors and non-sailors, alike, who are raising funds and awareness in honor of a North Oaks, MN resident
A future sailor is born! Eric Dahlquist with older sister, Ellen, on the tall ship U.S.S. Constitution on a recent family vacation in Boston.

Eric Dahlquist – 12 years old on July 27 – was diagnosed Dec. 15, 2004 with acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL). He immediately began chemotherapy at St. Paul Children’s Hospital & Clinics. Due to the intensive treatment, his white count and immune system were quite low, and he was unable to return to school for the rest of the 2004-05 school year. However, he was home-schooled four hours each week, and he passed onto sixth grade at Chippewa Middle School with all A’s. Eric continued to have intensive rounds of chemotherapy for the entire 2005 year; in and out of the hospital frequently, he had to give up a lot of his special interests (baseball, traveling, playing the violin, Boy Scout meetings). In January, 2006, Eric spent a month in the hospital because of serious complications from intensive chemotherapy; he had many transfusions during this period and was weak and in a lot of pain, but the hospital staff, his family and friends were amazed by his brave attitude.
Eric Dahlquist.

Eric, who lives in North Oaks, MN with his parents (Neil and Marcia) and older sister (Ellen), is now in remission (cancer-free) and in the maintenance phase of treatment. He will continue taking a chemotherapy pill daily for two years and have spinal taps monthly for the first year.

What is The Leukemia Cup Regatta?

The L-Cup Regatta – benefiting The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society – is a thrilling series of sailing events across the country that combine the joy of sailing with the important task of raising money to fight leukemia and lymphoma cancers. Sailors and non-sailors, alike, raise funds and awareness for the Society’s life-saving programs: Research, Patient Services, Education and Advocacy. This is the L-Cup Regatta’s third year in Minnesota; held on White Bear Lake, and sponsored by White Bear Boat Works.

The L-Cup had its beginnings in Alabama in 1988, when a yacht club raised funds for the Society in memory of a member who had died from leukemia. In 1993, an Annapolis, MD, yacht club pioneered the concept of competition – sailing and fundraising – among boats and crews and raised $30,000 for the Society.

 Enthusiasm spread across the country, especially after world-class sailor and ESPN commentator Gary Jobson became the national chair in 1994. In 2003, Jobson’s role became even more personal when he was diagnosed with stagefour Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Today, after intensive treatment and a stem cell transplant, Jobson is cancer-free and continues to help build the event. In 2005, the sailing community raised more than $3.2 million at 47 Regattas, bringing the overall campaign results to more than $18 million. Today, because of advances made in research and treatment, there is an 86 percent survival rate for children under 15 years with ALL (Eric Dahlquist’s form of leukemia); 40 years ago there was less than a 4 percent survival rate.
The 2004 Minnesota Patient Honoree was White Bear Lake resident and Black Bear Yacht Racing Association (BBYRA) member Craig Witthaus, who was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2000 and is now five years in remission. Dellwood resident Ford Nicholson, a White Bear Yacht Club (WBYC) member, was the 2004 Honorary Chair; Nicholson, diagnosed in 2001 with Hodgkin’s lymphoma, has also been cancer-free for five years. Dan Hochhalter, a 2000 White Bear Lake High School graduate and present-day fiddler for country music singer Gretchen Wilson, was the 2005 Patient Honoree. In 2001, Hochhalter’s college and music career were sidelined when he was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia; fortunately, after eight months of chemotherapy, he was declared cancer-free.

Still, more needs to be done to fund a cure! An estimated 2,400 residents in Minnesota will be diagnosed with leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease or myeloma this year. Leukemia causes more deaths than any other cancer among children and young adults under the age of 20, yet it affects nine times as many adults.

All are welcome to fundraise for the L-Cup and join in Regatta weekend fun!
The Leukemia Cup Regatta. Photo courtesy of Pat Dunsworth.

You don’t need to sail to fundraise and win prizes! The L-Cup’s top fundraisers – all those raising $8,500 – will sail with Gary Jobson in Rhode Island in October. Other prizes and incentives are offered by national sponsors, such as Mount Gay Rum, West Marine, Sailing World Magazine, Sunsail Sailing Vacations, and North Sails. Local sponsors for the Minnesota L-Cup are White Bear Boat Works, Shavlik Technologies and Maplewood Outback Steakhouse; BBYRA and WBYC are co-hosts. Supporters include Northern Breezes and Pat Dunsworth Photography.

The Sept. 15-17 weekend festivities include three thrilling races, a Friday night reception, Saturday dinner, silent auction and street dance (no cover), and fundraising and sailing awards. Tickets for the Saturday dinner must be purchased in advance: $25/adult and $10/child under 12. All participants for racing and/or fundraising can register online: www.leukemiacup.org/mn (Minnesota Details) or by contacting The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Nicki Hyser: hysern@lls.org or (763) 545-3309, ext. 102.

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, headquartered in White Plains, NY, is the world’s largest voluntary health organization dedicated to funding blood and lymphoma cancer research and providing education and patient services. The Society’s mission is to cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease and myeloma and to improve the quality of life of patients and their families. Since its founding in 1949, the Society has invested more than $434 million for research – specifically targeting leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma.

Sailing contacts: Carol Robertshaw, Commodore for BBYRA, (651) 426-7059 or carolrobertshaw@hotmail.com; Lee Alnes, Communications Director WBYC Sailing Division, (651) 341-5871 or leealnes@comcast.net.