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Whaleback to West Quoddy: Sailing for a cure

Windrider-16-2019.jpgBangor criminal defense attorney Jeff Silverstein, Esq. isn’t sure why his close friend and colleague Julio DeSanctis left him his 16-foot WindRider trimaran sailboat when he succumbed to cancer in 2011. It could be because Julio didn’t want to leave his family with the burden of dealing with the boat. More likely, it’s because Jeff and Julio shared a passion for sailing and a commitment to leaving their community a little bit better than they found it.

This July, Jeff will honor Julio’s memory by taking the sailboat they’ve shared on a journey along the Maine coast to raise money for Northern Light Cancer Care, a cause that was close to Julio’s heart. Jeff’s seven-to-ten-day, 250-mile trip, known as Sail for the Cure, will begin in Kittery, Maine’s southernmost coastal port, and end in Lubec, the easternmost town in the contiguous United States. Jeff will follow the Maine Island Trail, America’s first recreational water trail, and stay at designated campsites along the route.

“Two things cause me the most worry,” he says. “One of them is fog, and the other is the intermittent, dangerous thunderstorms that can pop up. But other than that, it shouldn’t be too much trouble. It will be a wet ride, and I’m expecting to be in my wet suit pretty much most of the time.”

For Jeff, taking on a little bit of water will be worth it because he’ll be doing so in memory of Julio—a charismatic, well known defense attorney who practiced in Bangor for decades. According to Jeff, Julio was a champion of the downtrodden, had an uncanny knack of thinking on his feet in the courtroom, and was passionate about giving back to his community.

“Julio was quick to come to the defense of those who were less able, less powerful, and in need of a strong advocate,” says Jeff. “He was a peach of an individual. He was very involved with the church, and every summer, he donated his time at bible camp and raised money so kids could attend.”

Sail for the Cure is one of many events led by community members that support Champion the Cure Challenge, the region’s largest cancer fundraiser. Every dollar that Jeff raises will stay in Brewer to support treatment and research, including clinical trials that help bring the newest, next-generation cancer treatments to Maine.

Jeff’s sail will begin in early July; the exact date will depend on the weather. He is exploring ways for supporters to track his journey and is looking into the possibility of sharing live video while he’s on the water. To stay up-to-date on his plans, check out his Facebook Page, or visit his Champion the Cure Challenge Page. Or, if you’re up for a little adventure, join him for a part of his trip.

“Of course, I welcome anyone to join me for any moment or portion of the trip, whether it be to say 'hey' to me from terra firma, or to join me on the water for an hour or some part of a day,” he says.