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#GivingTuesday: HAL’s ‘On Deck for a Cause’ Raises Money for Cancer Research

In honor of #GivingTuesday today, Holland America Line is announcing that its “On Deck for a Cause” shipboard giving program has raised $600,000 since its inception in 2013. The funds benefit six international cancer organizations located in the United States, Canada, Australia, Netherlands, Germany and United Kingdom.

To date, Holland America Line has raised a total of $4 million through the combined efforts of On Deck for a Cause and the previous On Deck for a Cure shipboard giving program that raised funds for Susan G. Komen for the Cure from April 2006 through February 2013.

On Deck for a Cause invites guests to participate in a noncompetitive 5k fundraising walk on every sailing aboard each of the line’s 15 ships, with proceeds distributed among the American Cancer Society, Canadian Cancer Society, Cancer Council Australia, Cancer Research UK, Deutsche Krebshilfe (German Cancer Aid) and KWF Kankerbestrijding (Dutch Cancer Society).

Guests of all ages are invited to donate $20 to the Holland America Line Foundation, with a minimum of 80 percent ($16) distributed to the organizations. The remaining 20 percent covers program and administrative expenses. On a day at sea, participants join in a 5k walk around the ship’s decks. Guests may walk less or not at all, as they prefer. Participants also receive an On Deck for a Cause T-shirt, wristband and a reception following the walk. Depending on the ship, the distance to reach 5k ranges from nine to 12 laps.

By the end of 2014, nearly 500 On Deck for a Cause events will have been held across the Holland America Line fleet, with walks taking place on cruises globally on cruises to the Mediterranean, Caribbean, South Pacific, Alaska’s Inside Passage, Mexico, Asia, the Baltic, Australia, New Zealand, Antarctica and South America.

In addition to On Deck for a Cause, Holland America Line shoreside staff and shipboard officers, staff and crew participate in giving events throughout the year.

Fundraising for Cancer Information and Support Centre in Jakarta
By Hotel Director Henk Mensink


While ms Amsterdam called at Tanjung Priok (Jakarta) this Grand Voyage, we collaborated with Wielly Wahyudin to welcome him and CISC onboard.

Wielly Wahyudin is one of the members of CISC, as well as our former Amsterdam shipboard colleague and our previous Crew Officer, who was forced to retire due to a sudden onset of cancer. Wielly now is a proud survivor and brought with him several other survivors to display and sell hand-made batik merchandise, also made by fellow cancer survivors. The proceeds of all sales totaled $1,500 and will benefit a CISC halfway house for cancer patients.

Westerdam Crew Helps Repair School Hit by Hurricane Odile
By Hotel Director Mark Pells


In September, Hurricane Odile devastated the Mexican port city of Cabo San Lucas – a popular call on Holland America Line’s Mexican Riviera cruises. True to their resilient nature, residents in the area started rebuilding right away to be able to welcome back tourists and cruise ship guests.

Cruise lines were asked to donate what they could. However, officers and crew aboard ms Westerdam decided to take things one step further and use their manpower and resources to make a difference right away. They contacted the local tour operators from Tropical Tours and, together with the port agent, made plans to identify and help out those in need when Westerdam called at Cabo in October.

It was decided that the Amelia Wilkes Primary School, which also caters to special needs students, was the best fit. In a true example of “Team Together, Team Apart,” the Deck Department provided painting supplies and a private tender, the Technical Department collected money to replace lost courtyard awnings and the Hotel Department organized more than 60 volunteers to handle all of the labor. Onboard, support teams packed up sandwiches and refreshments to feed those who would be working in the 100-degree-plus weather.

Buses were arranged for the trip to the school, where the group found that several classrooms had been at least partially exposed to the elements. Everything, even the courtyard, was given a fresh coat of paint – with a few special touches from the Westerdam crew in the form of painted handprints: a creative way to show how honored crew were to lend a hand to the boys and girls from Cabo San Lucas.

Nieuw Amsterdam Crew Members Aid Refugees in Greece
By Hotel Director Marco van Belleghem

Hotel Director Marco van Belleghem, far left, and Assistant Housekeeper Savio DSilva, third from right, with a rescue worker and refugees in Mytilene.

Hotel Director Marco van Belleghem, far left, and Assistant Housekeeper Savio DSilva, third from right, with a rescue worker and refugees in Mytilene.

Crew members from ms Nieuw Amsterdam encountered hundreds of international refugees in the island city of Mytilene, Lesbos, off the coast of Greece when the ship docked there Oct. 9. Naturally they wanted to help, and so they organized a delivery of food and personal items to the island. Crew aboard Nieuw Amsterdam quickly rallied to provide sandwiches, fruit, drinks, blankets and towels for as many people as they could.

“The rescue worker was so appreciative, and we were glad we could do something for these people, who literally have nothing,” said Hotel Director Marco van Belleghem. “We see the situation in these countries on TV every day. But to witness it in real life and see these people who have fled their countries out of fear for their lives hits you hard and makes you realize we have a very good life.”

Holland America Line is honored to be a part of so many giving efforts and to celebrate #GivingTuesday.

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