RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) - The sound of the water lapping. The breeze on your face. It's the perfect day for a cruise, and the passengers are more than ready to go. They are from the Henrico Recreation and Parks Therapeutic Camp. They have a range of cognitive and physical disabilities.
"It's invaluable," says Camp Coordinator Jennifer Godfrey. "There's not a lot out here, like people like Ted, who provide this service for our individuals."
The Ted she refers to is Ted Abbott who started sailing in 1975 after getting out of the Air Force. In 1998, Abbott learned he has Kennedy Disease, a type of Muscular Dystrophy. A few years ago he had an opportunity to sail in the Paralympics but instead decided to share his love with others like himself. Sailing 4 All hit the water in 2011.
"It's really therapeutic to be on the water. The motion, the sounds," explains Abbott about the service he provides. "People love being out here."
The Sailing 4 All pontoon boat is wheelchair accessible and holds as many as four at a time. It departs from Rocketts Landing and then gives everyone on board a chance to explore the James River.
"People can still enjoy life and do things they thought they couldn't do," says Abbott. "I've learned I am capable of doing things, giving back to the community and to especially to people with disabilities because I myself have one."
For many of his passengers, this is the first time ever that they have been on the water, and their reactions are priceless.
"The opportunity for them to get out and do this is, I can't even put it into words," Godfrey says. "A lot of times they're forgotten in the community, and people like Ted make things like this happen for our folks."
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