Embracing the Gift of Life
Published on July 13th, 2016
by John MacRae
My brother Jade ‘JD’ MacRae from Minnetonka, MN is racing with his wife Julie and Greg Holde in the Yngling World Championship on July 18-22 in St. Gilgen, Austria. This is where he will celebrate his 60th birthday, an occasion JD feels fortunate to have.
JD is now two years removed from having a successful heart transplant, necessary after suffering a massive heart attack when he was 41. For years he was sick enough with congestive heart failure that he could not work (he’s an architect), let alone sail or downhill ski (his other passion).
Money was and remains an issue, which he has kept somewhat under control thanks to fund raising drives that we have done to cover his uninsured medical expenses. He’s just getting back to work now, but cash flow has a ways to go before life returns to normal.
But he still had to sail.
Once he recovered from the surgery, he and a friend, Charlie Hurd, bought a beater Yngling for about $900, and got it and themselves in shape enough to place 4th at the North Americans last summer, which qualified them to represent the US at the 2016 Worlds.
JD’s been training for the regatta since the ice went out (early!) on Minnetonka in March, and has had financial, in-kind, and volunteer coaching help from many (including friend, Scow champ, and former Olympic coach Gordy Bowers) to help him train and get ready.
Needless to say, he’s thrilled to be going at all, even though he hasn’t yet figured out how he is going to pay all the regatta bills. It’s his first time out of the country, let alone sailing in an international championship. Having almost died more than once along the way, just being there is a gift.
The other backstory is that when he was younger, about 20 or so, he qualified for the Laser Worlds. This was back when the class was still kind of new, with the regatta somewhere in South America. However, he just did not have the funds to go at the time, so the Yngling Worlds is a second chance in another way.
The Yngling Worlds has attracted 59 teams, of which four represent USA. Here are some links for information, which include a fundraising page for contributions: