To inspire people with epilepsy to take One More Step towards achieving a fuller life.
Philip Haydon is an internationally recognized neuroscientist with medically controlled post-traumatic epilepsy. Phil has started the non-profit organization Sail For Epilepsy with a mission to inspire people with epilepsy to take One More Step towards achieving a fuller life, with the necessary safety measures in place. He plans to navigate the oceans of the world to:
After several years of cruising, mostly in New England waters, Phil participated in the 2015 New Year’s Day race run by the Constitution Yacht Club and was immediately bitten by the racing bug. He’s had a few victories, winning the 2017 doublehanded Beringer Bowl from Marblehead to Provincetown, MA and in 2019, he won the Newport, RI based double-handed Ida Lewis race with co-skipper Mike DiMella.
Phil wanted to sail in remote offshore areas where he would have to face new challenges – lack of sleep, hydration, provisioning, navigation and general fatigue. He made a few long-distance sails, either solo or double-handed, completed the qualifying requirements for a long-distance race, and in 2017 entered the Bermuda 1-2 race hosted by the Newport Yacht Club.
This race captured Phil’s imagination. He spent five months preparing for the event, optimizing the boat, figuring out his provisioning, and planning best sleep practices (naps!) to get sufficient rest. His preparations paid off, as he finished 4th in class in the solo leg, 3rd in the double-handed leg and 3rd in class in both legs combined – in his first attempt! In 2019, Phil experienced an equipment failure during the solo leg of the race and was forced to abandon. In 2021, Phil placed 3rd in his class in the solo leg, 3rd in class during the double-handed leg with co-skipper Joe Cooper, and 13th overall, all the while producing content for the Sail For Epilepsy program.
Now Phil is challenging himself again, setting out to sail the oceans of the world in hopes of inspiring people with epilepsy, promoting awareness and connecting with local communities worldwide.
This voyage is about more than sailing the oceans of the world. Sail For Epilepsy will post photos, videos, and blogs as well as connect live with their audience. During port stops, Phil and his small crew will engage with the local epilepsy community to share his story and hear about ways others are living a fuller life, despite epilepsy.
When he casts off, Phil will be sailing for more than himself: he is sailing for anyone else with epilepsy, their families, their caregivers, and anyone who has decided to take an extra step to live a fuller life. He also sails for those who have been lost as a result of epilepsy, to honor their memory and to raise funds for research, so that a future generation of people with epilepsy will have better seizure control.
Ways You Can Help
There are many ways that you can support the epilepsy community by giving to Sail For Epilepsy. A proportion of all funds donated will immediately flow through to their partners. The balance will support the Sail For Epilepsy mission to inspire, educate, raise awareness, and support research. Visit their Ways to Give section to learn more about how you can support Sail For Epilepsy.