Bob Davis - CEO & Founder
It was late january in 2004 and Bob and his wife were celebrating her 50th birthday in his new new oncologist’s office. During a routine physical his primary care physician discovered that his WBC’s (white blood cell) counts were elevated. So off to the oncologist where he learned that he had Leukemia, more specifically, Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia. As scary as it was, he learned over time that if you’re diagnosed with leukemia, “CLL” is the best one to have.
Then in february 2010 on the advice of both his primary care physician and oncologist, he was having an endoscopy because of difficulty swallowing. “Not to worry” he was told they’ll scope you and dilate your esophagus and you’ll be better than new. Well so much for that procedure. When he woke up and asked how everything went there was silence. His wife was called and they sat down to meet with the doctor in his office. He entered the office, greeted them, and began to explain that he found a tumor. “Well why didn’t you cut it out while you were down there?” Bob asked. Now try to understand that Bob was a man who thought that Leukemia was like a bad case of the flu six years ago. So just like that, he thought that tumors were just removed with a scalpel, laser beam, whatever. Now those dreadful words, “I’m sorry, it’s cancer.” Cancer… oh no, not me, no way!
Since January 2004, Bob has had to learn to live with CLL. He has learned through the Leukemia Lymphoma Society of Connecticut how to be a four time leading fundraiser by sailing in regattas. Two time Leukemia Cup winner as well as two time chairman. He has learned what it feels like to undergo chemo therapy and have the skin burned off your esophagus from twenty eight fractions of radiation therapy, also how to be involved in your care and seek out the best treatments available.
Now at sixty two, Bob says, “I’m learning how to live. How to live in gratitude for the life I have and the chances I’ve had. Despite all the pain and agony I had to endure, I am in remission! So now it’s my time to give back and help others who are not as lucky as me, a two time cancer survivor” hence, Bob is the founder of Sails Up 4 Cancer (SU4C)!
Tom P. Bell, MD FACS - Executive Vice President
Tom did his medical training in texas and then came to Connecticut to sail and to begin his surgical practice of 28 years, retiring in 2010. In addition to his private practice, he was involved in medical education with appointments at yale and the University of Connecticut. He was the founding director of the local Hospice, continuing this for 15 years. He was also the founder of the South Coast Vascular Society and participated in the American College of Surgeons at the state and national levels serving in many positions and continues as a site reviewer for trauma centers nationwide. He was selected as a top surgeon for Connecticut Magazine numerous times and was elected to the prestigious New England Surgical Society. Tom worked as an officer of the American Cancer Society and has been active in many local charities and continues to work closely with Mystic Seaport. He has gone on medical missions to Kenya and to Haiti after the earthquake.
He is an avid cruising sailor with too (yes too) many boats, the pride and joy a wooden Alden Cutter built in 1956 that he does all the work on. Tom has sailed worldwide especially enjoying greece, Croatia and New Zealand.
Tom looks forward to continuing to give back and is excited about his role with SU4C.
Jessica Morrissey - Executive vice president
Jessica was graduated from Finch College with a B.A. In math/economics and attended the Austin Dunham Barney Graduate School of Business, University of Hartford. Her business career included working at Connecticut Bank & Trust and then Heublein, Inc. As a financial analyst. Dealing with Heublein's contributions department was always a treat for her and Jessica was truly inspired by their community spirit and benevolence.
The family moved to Stonington, CT in 1992, became involved with coaching for her children's sports teams (11 times!) and concurrently was caregiver for her parents (both cancer survivors). During the past 20 years, Jessica has volunteered her time to many non-profits: Enders Island Retreat, Fidelco's Guide Dog Foundation, MASH (Mystic Area Shelter & Hospitality) and MIPF (Mystic Irish Parade Foundation - 2010 Grand Marshal).
Jessica is very excited to be a part of SU4C as a result of her working with SU4C's founder, Bob Davis, on the Leukemia Cup Regattas. Groton Long Point was homeport for her family and relatives who have summered there for generations… hence the start of her love affair with the sea and sailing. She enjoys crewing on weekends with friends aboard their 39' Pearson.
Current memberships include Mystic Fleet Corinthians and Mystic River Yacht Club.
Karen Davis - Executive Secretary
Karen was born and raised in Charleston, WV. After graduating high school Karen studied business administration at Morris Harvey College in Charleston, and has worked as an administrator for various types of organizations since that time.
She lived in Japan for five years where she was employed by the department of the Navy in a social services position and later in an administrative capacity by the Navy’s real estate contracts division. In 1990 she left Japan and moved to Rhode Island, where she met Bob and they were married in 1991.
She has held a Connecticut real estate license since 1995,and for the past 14 years has worked in the field of property management in Connecticut.
She enjoys cruising Long Island Sound with her husband, Bob, the founder and CEO of SU4C. She has supported Bob during his fundraising activities and chairman positions with the CT chapter of the Leukeimia Society. More importantly she has been his advocate and administrator during his struggles with two cancers, as well as with her younger brother, Walter, who lost his battle with brain cancer in march of 2010.
She is a member of Mystic Fleet Corinthians, Mystic Mudheads, and Mystic River Yacht Club.