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Fighting leukemia in a sailing race

The 19-foot three-man crew Lightning class sailboat will take to the waters in the Leukemia Cup Regatta this month. Photo courtesy Mike Garcia

May 09, 2013
After a day repairing cars, Mike J. Garza takes to the water in a 19-foot three-man Lightning class sailboat.

Garza and Trey Rose will launch the dinghy-style boat onto Lake St. Clair from the Great Lakes Yacht Club May 18 to race in the first of several Leukemia Cup Regattas. The two are co-owners of the boat, which Garza describes as one of the oldest designed boats.

A resident of Grosse Pointe Park, Garza said there will be between 30 and 40 boats in the race covering up to two miles. This summer the Lightning's crew will be involved in three to four events around Michigan to raise funds for the cause.

It is their intention to win the season's first regatta as they did in 2012, he said.

The team also raised more than $10,000 last year during the "Raise a Sail, Find a Cure" fundraising races.

Cites sanctioned as leukemia fundraising spots include Grosse Ile Yacht Club, North Star Sail Club in Harrison Township and the Port Huron Yacht Club.

Garza and Rose became involved in the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's fundraiser because Rose's co-worker, John Balconi, died from leukemia in 2012.

"In sailing, I have come to see, experience and appreciate great leadership. (As a yachtsman it) has brought my passion to purpose, to help a cause without a cure," Garza's resume said.

This is the first Garza has been involved in a major fundraiser, but said he believes it is a way to give back to the community. To donate, go to Garza's business, All Pointes Auto, 20805 Mack, Grosse Pointe Woods, or visit bit.ly/X4smsq.

The regattas are a series of sailing events open to both sailors and non-sailors. Boats, both real and virtual, are registered to support the cause. For more information, visit leukemiacup.org/mi or call (248) 581-3941.

The regattas are part of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's fundraising efforts. The society's mission is to cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin's disease and myeloma and improve the quality of life of patients and their families.

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