J.R.'s Thriving Story

The feature we chose is an active participant in the MS Cure Fund community, J.R. Hardenburgh. J.R. is an avid sailor, who encourages others in the MS community to not let their disease control their life. He sails on a specially adapted sailboat for people with disabilities, and encourages everyone to try something out of their comfort zone. His story, however, begins with the story of a man named Robie Pierce. 

     Today's feature of the week is an active participant in the MS Cure Fund community, J.R. Hardenburgh! J.R.'s story actually starts with the story of a boy named Robie Pierce. Determined to not let MS control his life, Robie started his career as a disabled sailor. "I'll continue to sail if I have to crawl to the boat." He wanted sailors with disabilities to gain coverage on a world stage so he made it his goal to make sailing a paralympic sport.

     Through Robie's efforts, it was finally accepted as a medal sport in Sydney at the 2000 Paralympic Games. Robie was also a vital part of the Shake-A-Leg and Clagett Regatta based in Newport, whose mission was to engage people in their own mental and physical recovery. Tom Clagett, who also shared a love of sailing initiated the C. Thomas Clagett Jr. Memorial and Regatta in Robie's memory after Robie's priceless friendship with his daughter and granddaughters. Robie sailed the 110 World Disabled Sailing Championships and won gold with his teammate and friend, Nick Bryan-Brown.

     Today, Nick along with his new teammate J.R., both progressive MS patients from Boston took home a bronze medal in the new RS Venture Connect fleet in the 2018 U.S. Para Sailing Championships. J.R. continues to live life to the fullest, which is why we have chosen him as feature of the week! Nick and J.R. actively participate in sailing events in the North East, encouraging MS patients to explore what is available in their local area that gets them on the water in a sailboat they can handle. They work with the crew from Community Boating in Boston and the Y-Knot Sailing Center on Lake George in upstate N.Y. organizing patient sailing days and fundraisers each year. Please check out the video of them sailing during the competition.

“Robie’s spirit lives on in all of us when we get on the water”

Sailing Video


Photo Credits: Clagett Regatta, Sebastian Raposo