The Chicago Yacht Club (CYC) is committed to making a positive impact on our community, so when Chicago-based Bear Necessities reached out to us, we were eager to help. Bear Necessities is a non-profit organization that, in addition to working to eliminate childhood cancer and provide support to those who are touched by it, offers “Bear Hugs” – customized experiences which help brighten the lives of children who are fighting cancer. Founder Kathleen Casey created Bear Necessities in memory of her son, Barrett, who fought valiantly against a tumor 30 years ago. He asked his mother to help other kids fight cancer, and that became her life’s work.
Seven-year-old Maxime is battling a brain tumor for the second time in his life. While in treatment at Lurie Children’s Hospital in downtown Chicago, Max would watch boats on the Chicago lakefront and developed a keen interest in taking a ride on one of those boats. The Chicago Yacht Club Foundation learned of his interest and immediately set to work to make it happen, with CYC Members Chuck and Rita Anderson jumping at the chance to be a part of Max’s “Bear Hug.”
Max became an honorary captain for one sunny Sunday in September. He brought his mother and several classmates along to share the experience with him for a day filled with fun and smiles, starting with an exciting ride along the lake in the Andersons’ son’s speedboat. Max and his friends whooped it up and squealed as the boat skipped along the waves! Then they boarded the big boat and the honorary captain and his crew set off on a cruise as the sun reflected off the water. “It does your heart good to make people feel happy,” said Rita Anderson.
By the time Max and his friends left Chicago Yacht Club, his love of boats was born. With the hope that Max is up to it next Summer, the Chicago Yacht Club Foundation has invited him to take classes at Chicago Yacht Club’s sailing school. His mom says he’s thrilled at the prospect of it.