Katie TriplettSailor of the Week: April 21-27
Katie Triplett has served as the Campaign Manager for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Louisiana and Mississippi for less than year. In her short time in this role, Katie has made a tremendous impact on fundraising, and she did this by combining a worthy cause with people’s love for sailing. Katie’s dedication to the 2011 Leukemia Cup Regatta, co-hosted by the Southern Yacht Club and New Orleans Yacht Club on April 2-3, helped raise an astounding $215,000. This amount surpassed the money raised in 2010 by three times and over 70% more than the previous record.
When Katie moved to New Orleans in 2003, she discovered the Leukemia Cup Regatta. These regattas are a series of sailing events that combines the joy of boating with the important task of raising money to cure cancer. Since its inception, the Leukemia Cup Regatta has raised millions of dollars for lifesaving research and patient services, bringing help and hope to patients and their families.
In yacht clubs across the country, skippers register their boats and recruit friends and colleagues to help crew and to raise funds. Crew members seek donations from friends, family, co-workers and employers to sponsor their boat. National and local event sponsors also support Regattas.
“The concept is brilliant and I knew at that moment I needed to work for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society,” Katie explained. “I volunteered for several years and have been honored to be a staff member for the past two years.”
She attributes the success of the regatta to the enthusiasm of the event committee and leader, Guy Brierre. “We were clear to everyone that this event was unlike any other sailing regatta because it was about raising money and not about finishing first.” Katie also mentioned how everyone involved, including the participants, race organizers and sponsors all bought into this concept.
Katie and the committee taught participants how to set up their own personal websites that helped promote the event and raise as much money as possible. They encouraged everyone to get involved, including sailors, swim teams and yacht club members. You didn't have to race in the regatta to have a fundraising website.
“The vision was clear and simple - to raise as much money as we possibly could to help fight blood cancers, while doing something we love.”
The post race party was a stand-alone event and could not have been possible without the support of the Southern Yacht Club and New Orleans Yacht Club. The SYC hosted a spectacular post race party on Saturday night. The NOYC hosted the awards ceremony on Sunday. "If we're from New Orleans, we better know how to throw a party," she added.
Katie explained how the committee knew exactly how much they wanted to raise in sponsorship dollars, race registration, party ticket sales and auction items. “Our theme was ‘keepin' the pedal down’ and everyone did, even through Mardi Gras,” she said. The minimum amount they needed to raise was $77,500. They set a personal goal of exceeding $125,000. Katie had her own secret goal of $150,000. Today, they have raised $215,000 and that number is still growing. Katie mentioned that they wanted to be one of the top five Leukemia Cup Regattas in the country in terms of fundraising in 2011.
“Since our event is one of the earliest regattas on the calendar, we won't know if that happened until October, but we sure tried our best. Next year we're setting our goals higher,” she stated.
Katie started sailing when she was 8 years old, when her father bought a Rhodes 19. He taught Katie and her sister how to sail on the Ohio River and on other small lakes in Indiana. Soon they traded in the Rhodes 19 for a Hunter 25 and they eventually settled on a Hunter 33.5. When she was 16 she saved up to buy a Laser instead of a car. They spent all their free time on Kentucky Lake and racing at the Kentucky Lake Sailing Club. At night they enjoyed anchoring in the bays, while watching sunsets and blue heron fly by.
“Kentucky Lake has some of the best sunsets in the world. It's really a magical place and at the age of 30, I still crave those weekends. I travel to Kentucky Lake three to four times a year for some ‘Earth therapy’ with my family.”
Learn more about the Leukemia Cup at http://www.leukemiacup.org/.