Meet Our Honorary Skippers

Leukemia Cup Regatta participants raise funds in honor of local blood cancer survivors, known as our Honorary Skippers. Their courageous stories will inspire you!

Chris Kostanecki

Co-Chair of the Leukemia Cup Regatta Committee
Chris was diagnosed in 1995 with a very rare form of lymphoma – anaplastic T-Cell lymphoma. A survivor for 21 years, Chris and his children Nicholas and Sophie celebrate together by competing in the Leukemia Cup on their J/70. Chris says, “The LLS mission is a cause near and dear to me for obvious reasons. I support and fundraise for LLS every year. I enjoy the connection and being able to support other patients when they face challenges during diagnosis, treatment and recovery. Watching the Leukemia Cup grow with the support of The San Francisco Yacht Club, committee members, VIP speakers and the Bay Area sailing community is exciting and I am honored to be part of this amazing regatta.”

Lynn Spiller

Lynn was diagnosed in 1993 with non-Hodgkin lymphoma and treated successfully with radiation therapy. She thrived for 15 years before the lymphoma resurfaced in 2008. This time she was treated – again successfully – with a relatively new drug that targets primarily only the cancerous tumors, yielding a much gentler therapy and better quality of life. She is an active volunteer and fundraiser for a number of LLS events because she believes her good health is the direct result of the support the LLS provides for blood cancer research. In addition to being an honoree for LLS’s Team In Training a number of times, she continues to volunteer and participate in the Leukemia Cup Regatta. Lynn says, “I tell people, don’t be afraid of cancer. There’s so much out there to keep you healthy.”

Bob Groenke

Bob was diagnosed with Diffuse Large B-Cell Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in 2003 as a 19 year old sophomore in college.  He was successfully treated in the following months and fought back to return full strength to school and his college lacrosse team the next season.  With the help of outstanding doctors, new medicines, and the support of his family, team, and friends, Bob was blessed to be cured of NHL and has been cancer free ever since.  He has worked on various initiatives with the the Leukemia Lymphoma Society over the years to help ensure more great outcomes like his can be achieved.  Bob joined the Leukemia Cup Regatta’s committee in 2017.

Britton “Brit” Lacey

In August of 2012, at the age of twenty-nine, Brit Lacey was diagnosed with Stage 4 Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma. When he hadn’t been feeling well, his girlfriend Emi made a doctor’s appointment which changed the course of his life. Chemotherapy treatments in one of New York’s finest hospitals began in early September and in January 2013, after his final PET scan, Brit was declared CURED – 100% cancer free. With his cure came his dedication to fundraise for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and to fund research and improve the quality of life for other patients who are affected by this disease every day.

Douglas Holmes

Tupelo Honey Team
Honorary skipper Douglas Holmes has been racing in the Leukemia Cup Regatta with Tupelo Honey skipper Gerard Sheridan and his crew since 2010. This year Douglas and his wife, Karen, along with Paul Jones and Dr. Jeffery Wolf will race on Tamara, their OL 33 sloop. Douglas is an avid sailor and talented sculptor who was diagnosed in October 2008 with multiple myeloma. He received chemotherapy, radiation treatment and a stem cell transplant at UCSF Medical Center and is now in remission thanks to Dr. Jeffery Wolf and the amazing and dedicated staff at UCSF.

Drake Jensen

Drake was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma in September of 2010 when he was 17 years old, just as he was achieving status as a formidable competitor in the junior sailing world. Despite all of the challenges associated with chemo and radiation, Drake was determined to finish high school without taking a break. Drake remained active, coaching High School Baseball and coaching and instructing Junior Sailing all through his Contra Costa College years. Drake spent three years at Contra Costa College completing his GE courses to transfer to the California Maritime Academy, where he is studying Marine Transportation. Drake has hopes to someday pilot ships in and out of San Francisco Bay.

Rhett Krawitt

Rhett was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) in 2010. After 3 ½ years of treatments, Rhett is “Gone with the Cancer!” Rhett’s inspirational words serve as a reminder that while research has dramatically improved cure rates, there is much more that still needs to be done. In the 2014 Leukemia Cup, Rhett’s family raised more than $20,000, and rallied the Gammon crew to a second-place division finish. As honorary skipper, he will proudly declare again, “My name is Rhett, and I give a damn!”

Chris Laub

Christopher Laub was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) in 2004, at the age of eight. With the love and support of friends and families in the Tiburon community, he stayed strong during his 3 years of chemotherapy at UCSF. Additionally, Chris is a past Boy of the Year for LLS’s Man & Woman of the Year campaign and was honored by the Dalai Lama in 2009 as an “Unsung Hero of Compassion” for his inspirational efforts. Chris continues working to inspire and support others battle cancer as a guest speaker at several gold events for the American Cancer Society.

Steve Johnson

Steve was diagnosed with acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL) in February 1997 after what he thought was a bad case of the flu that was going around. Two days after his doctor’s visit he found himself at UCSF receiving his first round of chemo. His wife, Karen, was his “rock” throughout his treatment, spending almost every night in the hospital with him. After 7.5 months of high-dose chemo and 2.5 years of maintenance chemo, Steve was declared cancer free. Steve says his cancer journey taught him to always remember that life is a precious thing and that we need to make the most of it. It is crucial to “catch yourself” when things are not going well and remind yourself of that.

Bernard O’Driscoll

In loving memory
In April of 2009, Bernard was diagnosed with stage 3 Aggressive Multiple Myeloma. Despite complications, Bernard continued to sail at every opportunity. He was a long time supporter of The Bay Area Leukemia Cup Regatta, serving as honorary skipper on Neil Gibbs J/105 Nimbus. Bernard passed on December 19, 2016 and will be dearly missed.

Hoody Quill

In loving memory
Seven-time cancer survivor, Hoody Quill, passed away on June 17, 2-013 after living triumphantly through many battles with cancer over the past three decades. A resident of Tiburon and father of five, Quill inspired other cancer patients as a motivational speaker with his quick with and mega-watt smile. His message was simple, “Do not give up, and when bad things happen, tyr and get something good out of it.”

Russ Coggeshall

In loving memory
Russ served as the General Manager of The San Francisco Yacht Club from 1990 – 2009 and remained active with the club for many years. The Bay Area Leukemia Cup Regatta started on his watch and he enjoyed watching it grow each year. Russ was diagnosed with multiple myeloma in May 2010 and sadly passed away on May 31, 2014. His positive attitude will be missed by his dear friends, family, and SFYC.