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Industry Colleague Thanks All for their Support in His Journey to Raise Money for Parkinson's

Posted on 31 May 2012 by Neilson

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Bob's good friend and fellow industry colleague Bob Preston was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease nearly six years ago.  Bob has shown incredible strength and courage in the face of his diagnosis, raising awareness and funding for a cure for a disease that affects one in every two hundred Americans. His campaign, Optimism Can Take You Anywhere, began on July 2, 2011 on board his Family Ties 2 sailboat where he sailed from up and down the East Coast, to the Gulf of Mexico, Florida Keys, Bahamas...  His trip has ended, and here is his thanks to all who followed his journey and helped raise awareness and money for Parkinson's: 

THANKS! To begin, this is the very last email for our  boating odyssey, thanks for tagging along. The fact you are reading this accomplishes our first goal, to spread awareness of Parkinson Disease and it's effect on 1.5 million Americans, like me! We did pretty well with our other 2 goals too, demonstrating how important it is to face a chronic & progressive illness with an optimistic attitude and positive outlook and we raised some bucks for research.

Many people asked me for statistics like how far did you go, how much fuel did you burn, how far South or North did you go, etc...

                              FACTS AND FIGURES


In this case a boat trip from Northern, Me to the Gulf of Mexico, FL Keys, Bahamas & Abaco Islands.
*How long were we gone? 7/2/11 - 4/13/12 w/11 weeks off here & there
*Furthest point North:  Schoodic Penninsula, ME (way Down East)
*Where's that? North of Bar Harbor. Lat 44.20.8N Lon 68.30.4W
*Furthest South & East:  Elbow Cay, Abaco, Bahamas.
*And where's that? As the crow flies,1156 nautical miles from Maine
*Total miles traveled: 4058nm or approx 4500 statute miles.  That is same as going from RI to San Francisco and back to Bethel Park, PA (near Pitts.)
*Avg MPG: 1.274 over all 4058 miles. Including the 6 mph 'slow' areas
*Average cruise speed. 18.4 kts. About 21 mph
*Avg MPG at cruise speed and loaded for travel = 1.17mpg
*Best pice per gallon. $3.18 NC, Fall 2011
*Highest $6.80 Man of War Cay, Spring 2012. Includes free water in the fuel!
*Let's see avg price/gal  about $4.20 x (4058/1.274)  = OMG!
*Add the generator fuel, grand total was 3448 gallons of diesel.
*Oh, you want FRESH water in Bahamas.  Dockside meters @20c-40c/gal
*Furthest we traveled from any land: 52 miles, looking for whales. Found 'em!
*Furthest distance from US:  About 177 mi, Elbow Cay
*Distance between FL entry port and Grand Bahama Is:  About 62mi
*Longest leg 205nm. Scituate MA to Bar Harbor, Me (incl whale watch detour)
*Deepest water about 2600 ft deep
*Highest wind speed recorded while we were at anchor: 64 mph gust
*Number of marinas visited since the August start - 74
*Number of times we were turned away due to 'No Vacancy' - 0
*% of nights on anchor vs dock. 20%.  I like being at anchor
*Number of times we crossed the Bermuda Triangle - Twice.
*Number of  times we had less than 18" of water under the propeller.  4
*Number of times we touched bottom.  ZERO
*Visits to a clinic or hospital ER - Two.
*Amount of time it used to take for Bob to drain the water/fuel separators and install new fuel filters before water-in-fuel fiasco, 20 mins. How fast now? 5 mins.
*% of time Becky would drive prior to this trip? About 2%. Now? About half.
*In 1 week, number of times the USCG or police boat either boarded us. Three Times.  "Just wanted to check out the boat".
*Wildlife experienced" Sea turtles, bald eagles, barracudas, many various species of sharks, numerous whales, too many dolphins and porpoises to count......
*Amount the Preston Team raised to date for PD? Over $130,000!
*This one is impt: % of $$$$ we used to offset our campaign expenses. ZERO, zip, not a dime!100% went to APDA or The Fox Foundation.
*Number of people we helped with the above efforts:  At one , the mission was accomplished and we stopped counting.


A BIG THANK YOU for all the support to my friends and associates at Starkweather and Shepley Insurance & Preston Agency.  33 years is a long time, but not long enough! It has been my privilege to work with the very best of the best. And especially to NPC & WPM, you two embody the term "Class Act".  Your support is beyond description.
Petzold's Marine and Back Cove Yachts for a tremendous product and outstanding support.  The boat ran flawlessly. Also, a salute to Seaport Communications, Narragansett, RI. The navigation and communication systems gave us the confidence to get thru very tight unmarked channels and into many remote anchorages. And out of them!

Becky and I thank: Hundreds!  The many  people that have donated to the cause, helped me in my efforts. I thank you from the bottom of my heart.  None of this could have happened with the efforts of Charlene A., Christina F., "M. E." and "Q".  I can't forget all the fine folks at American Parkinson Disease Assoc and the Michael J. Fox Foundation.   Thanks to Roy on the sprint home, yup, we are the 2 luckiest guys on the planet.  Most importantly,  a very special thanks to, "Mary Jean"!  She kept us on track and managed this whole campaign. 

To my brother and business partner, Bill, who's support is unequaled.

And re: "The Admiral" aka Becky.  Imagine being on a 37' boat for 9 months with a me, the quintessential Type-A personality!  Yes, Lisa, she's a saint!

Finally, on a scale of 1-10, how would I rate the experience? TEN! I had the time of my life, I consider myself blessed to have had the experience. Would I do it again? I would.  I will.  I am.  Nov. 2013

In closing, I did this to help others in need of patient support, to raise money for research & to prove to myself and demonstrate to others that a positive attitude and optimistic outlook is critical not just fighting any chronic illness but in BEATING IT!  As for the first 2, I will let others judge me, as for the last item, I feel better today than I did when I started 9 months ago! Which reminds me, I am not one to wait for opportunity, luck, chance, or a PD CURE to come my way, I will hunt it down. W. E. Henley sums it up best in closing lines of his poem,
                                         (latin.  Unconquered)

                              "...I AM THE MASTER OF MY FATE:
                                  I AM THE CAPTAIN OF MY SOUL."

Thanks for sharing the journey with me, I lived a dream!


Narragansett, RI

PS:  Please don't forget to pursue your own dream. If there is something on your bucket list, GET TO IT! You're gonna be dead a long time!!!

To those who tell me "I want to help, please send me a reminder.":
Please go to WWW.RIAPDA.ORG and follow the OPTIMISM page,
it is most greatly appreciated. The campaign ends on June 16.