NEW HORIZONS: Bahamian para-athlete tapped to become godmother of Royal Caribbean’s newest cruise ship

NEW HORIZONS: Bahamian para-athlete tapped to become godmother of Royal Caribbean’s newest cruise ship
Erin Brown.

Cancer survivor Erin Brown to be named the first Bahamian godmother of a Royal Caribbean International vessel

MIAMI, FLORIDA — A Bahamian woman who lost her leg to cancer and went on to defy odds and inspire thousands will be named godmother of Royal Caribbean International’s Odyssey of the Seas

Royal Caribbean International’s Odyssey of the Seas.

Erin Brown, a 41-year-old mother of two and para-triathlete who cycles, runs, swims and competes at the international level, will accept the honor at a special ceremony held in Florida later this week. 

Royal Caribbean International President and CEO Michael Bayley said: “From the moment we heard the story of Erin, how her courage and determination in the face of adversity inspired others and led to a more inclusive consciousness about succeeding with disabilities, we were moved and knew she was a great candidate for godmother of our newest ship, Odyssey of the Seas.

“A godmother serves as the guiding spirit of the ship and brings good luck and safe travels to its crew and guests.

“Having Erin as our godmother is a fitting way for us to pay tribute to The Bahamas. 

Michael Bayley.

“Our company’s very first port of call outside the US was to The Bahamas more than 50 years ago. To this day, Nassau remains one of our most popular ports of call and Perfect Day at CocoCay remains our top pick by our guests.

“We are excited about this ceremony and honoring our long-time partners, as well as the newest Bahamian-flagged ship in our fleet.”

When Brown was in college participating as a track and field athlete, she was diagnosed with a rare form of bone cancer called osteosarcoma after suffering a fall that resulted in a broken leg. 

After more than a year of chemotherapy, her tumor showed no signs of shrinking and Brown made the difficult decision to amputate her limb 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 child depended on her. 

Erin Brown.

She underwent surgery and woke up to one less leg. 

“Mind over matter,” she would repeat to herself. Then, she reinvented herself.

She said she recognizes now that her disability was a signal to start over. 

Brown reflected on the first time she completed the 100-mile cycling event “Ride for Hope” to raise funds for cancer research, education and prevention. 

She recalled that she led a group of adaptive athletes who heard the thunderous applause and cheers of the crowd due to witnessing the one-legged cyclist achieve what few with two legs could achieve, especially on hilly terrain.

“A sudden change like the one I experienced is just an opportunity to rebrand yourself to yourself and to society,” said the disability rights activist and counselor at the University of The Bahamas. 

“All those skills you had before, you still have them.”