Royal Caribbean has named the godmother of its new ship Odyssey of the Seas ahead of her christening this weekend.
A Bahamian paratriathlete named Erin Brown will have the honor of blessing the vessel at her naming ceremony in Fort Lauderdale on Saturday.
“From the moment we heard Erin’s story, how her courage and determination inspired others and led to a more inclusive consciousness about succeeding with disabilities, we were moved and knew she was a natural choice for Godmother of our newest ship, Odyssey of the Seas,” said Michael Bayley, president and CEO, Royal Caribbean International. “A Godmother serves as the guiding spirit of the ship and brings good luck and safe travels to its guests and crew who sail on board for years to come.”
During her time as a collegiate track and field athlete, Brown was diagnosed with a rare form of bone cancer called osteosarcoma after suffering a fall that resulted in a broken leg. After over a year of chemotherapy, her tumor showed no signs of shrinking and she made the decision to amputate above the knee.
Brown, who watched her own mother struggle for five years before losing her battle with lupus linked to cancer, knew she had to keep going because her family depended on her. The now-41 year old mother of two repeated the phrase “Mind over matter” to get through it. And then, she reinvented herself.
The first time she completed the 100-mile cycling event in The Bahamas, Ride for Hope, to raise money for cancer research, education, and prevention, she led a group of adaptive athletes who heard the thunderous applause and cheers from the crowd that had witnessed Brown achieve what few with two legs could on hilly terrain.
“A sudden change like the one I experienced is just an opportunity to rebrand yourself to yourself and to society. All those skills you had before – you still have them,” said Brown. Since then, she has gone on to become an advocate for rights for the disabled and works at the University of The Bahamas as the compliance officer and counselor for those living with physical disabilities.
“Having Erin as our Godmother is a fitting way for us to pay tribute to The Bahamas as well,” said Bayley. “Royal Caribbean’s very first international destination was The Bahamas more than 50 years ago. To this day, Nassau remains one of our most popular ports of call, and our private island destination – Perfect Day at CocoCay – remains a top pick for our guests. We are excited about this ceremony and honoring our longtime partners as well as the newest Bahamian-flagged ship in our fleet.”