Billy Black meeting us at the dock this June after we won the return leg in the Bermuda 1-2. His first day outside after months of treatment, and here he is with his long lens and easy smile.
Many of you know Billy Black from his work as a photographer in the marine industry. You may have seen his boat at regattas, seen his pictures in magazines, or if you have been really lucky had the chance to spend time with someone who turns every shared moment into some of the best moments you can remember.
What you might not be aware of is that Billy had a fight with ocular lymphoma in 2013 that spread to his brain this past December. By May he successfully achieved remission and since this type of cancer has a high relapse rate, the recommended course of action is to get a stem cell transplant following remission. He completed that treatment but the doctors say it will be a year before he recovers his previous energy and endurance. The prognosis looks good and over the past month or so he has been getting back on the water and resuming his work, which is fantastic news.
His insurance policy covered most of what was a very expensive treatment. The reality, however, is that he has been out of commission for over 6 months and as a result he had to cancel scheduled work, could not take new bookings, and had no revenue coming in. He and Joyce also incurred significant out-of-pocket expenses related to his treatment that were not covered by insurance and they had to dig into the savings they had put aside, spending a little over $100,000.Those funds had been earmarked to purchase a replacement for the Silver Locomotive. You may have seen Billy towing his photo boat with this van, kitted out to serve as his home while he was on the road up and down the east coast traveling to shoot all of us on the water. The current vehicle has 350,000 miles on the odometer and is on borrowed time.
To know Billy is to love him. He is the nicest guy in the marine community, and someone who certainly makes me want to be a better person. He is generous with his time, his knowledge, his smile and his art. I know there are people who would like to help he and Joyce out, so Tristan Mouligné and I have organized an effort to pass the hat around. We have set up a joint account in Billy and Joyce’s name, and hope that you can join us in helping Billy bounce back from this challenge. A gift in any amount will help us put Billy back on the road and back on the water. If you would like to give, it’s simple.
Thanks so much for considering a gift. I know that Billy really appreciates all the support he has been shown by his friends throughout this challenge. If you want to get in touch with him directly, his email is [email protected] He has been much more active on social media and email as he has recovered from his stem cell transplant, and I am sure he would love to hear from you.