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What You Give Comes Back to You
When a teen from Langley, B.C. was recovering from cancer treatment, the Sail and Life Training Society offered her the trip of a lifetime.

In August 2006, a teenage girl in Langley, British Columbia, named Krystle Aspenlind woke up one morning with a large lump on her neck. Doctors informed her that she had a tumour wrapped around her windpipe and without treatment she had about two weeks left to live. The tumour was found to be cancerous, and Krystle underwent 20 months of chemotherapy at the British Columbia Children’s Hospital. Partway through her treatment, she was contacted in June 2007 by the British Columbia Children’s Hospital to see if she was interested in coming aboard a summer voyage with SALTS (Sail and Life Training Society).

Drawing by a SALTS trainee.

It was new territory for both Krystle and SALTS — she had never been on a tall ship, and SALTS was test-piloting enhancements to our bursary program. Krystle says the voyage “encouraged me in ways that are so indescribable.” She was an uplifting presence to everyone on the trip, and the crew developed a fond appreciation for her.

The success of her experience with SALTS led us to bring a whole shipload of British Columbia Children’s Hospital patients on a voyage in March 2008 through our bursary program. Krystle returned as part of that voyage. She tells that “it was a very encouraging and positive atmosphere — freeing; you don’t think about how sick you are; the cares lift off for a little while.” Once again, the crew felt like Krystle gave to others as much encouragement as she received during the voyage.

In May 2008, Krystle was still sick from her treatments when she felt a “beautiful, powerful presence” come over her body and the pain left instantly. Tests that summer confirmed that she had been completely healed from cancer — a healing that Krystle believes had miraculous assistance. Our relationship with Krystle will continue this next year, as she joins us for the 2009 season as the cook aboard Pacific Grace!

We are excited to have her join our crew, and humbled by her ability to keep encouraging others even when facing challenges of her own.

We did not expect that our efforts to bless others like Krystle would end up blessing SALTS so much as well!

Loren Hagerty is the executive director of SALTS (Sail and Life Training Society).

Originally published in the SALTS Newsletter, Winter 2009.




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