Mikkel Anthonisen, founder of the Sailing Sclerosis Foundation
The Sailing Sclerosis Foundation was established by Dr Mikkel Anthonisen, a specialist at Copenhagen University Hospital, Rigshospitalet, in Denmark. A doctor, psychotherapist and sailor, Mikkel has been working with multiple sclerosis patients since 2010, and it was a conversation with a patient that sparked the idea.
The Oceans of Hope circumnavigation was born out of the success of the Sailing Sclerosis Foundation’s sailing projects in Denmark.
He says, “It’s the natural progression and the ultimate dream after we set up a really successful sailing programme in Denmark for people with MS. It started quite small, grew bigger as more people got involved and realised their MS didn’t mean they had to stop completely doing something they loved; it’s just a question of doing it a bit differently.”
Oceans of Hope
The ocean does not discriminate. Professional and amateur sailors alike face the same weather and sea conditions. There will be no ‘passengers’ on board; each crew member will play an active part in the voyage carrying out a range of tasks according to their ability, including sail changes, helming, cooking and cleaning on board, and teamwork will be the key to the success of the voyage.
Research shows there are many benefits of physical activity for patients with MS. Oceans of Hope is the first ever circumnavigation crewed by people with multiple sclerosis and will emphasise ability instead of disability.
In each port of call the project aims to create a sustainable legacy by establishing a network between the MS world and the sailing world to promote active and healthy lifestyles