In future editions of the dictionary, don’t be surprised if you see the name Nicholas Baker next to the entry for “determination.” The longtime broker from Camper & Nicholsons passed away on May 17 after battling lung cancer since 2001. He was just 49 years old.
But that’s not the main reason Baker’s name should be synonymous with determination. This is a man who, after having part of a lung removed and going into remission, then having the cancer return, decided to sail across the Atlantic–single-handedly, mind you, despite being a novice–to raise money for lung-cancer research. He named the yacht (above) AquaLung, and the foundation he created, The AquaLung Trust, has gone on to help fund many important projects. Money has gone to the genome project at the Institute of Cancer Research, a health clinic in Darfur, and a project promoting tolerance between youth of different faiths and cultures, among other things.
Though I never met Baker, I have long been impressed with his spirit. This is a man who was diagnosed with lung cancer despite never being a smoker. If I had been in his shoes, I can say without doubt that I would have been crushed, for quite some time.
Nicholas Baker is survived by his wife and three children. May they–and all of us–take comfort in knowing that his spirit lives on through all whom he encountered. A memorial service will be held in Winchester Cathedral at 3 o’clock next Monday, June 23. Donations to The AquaLung Trust are, of course, welcome. Send them to: The AquaLung Trust, c/o Clyde & Co., 51 Eastcheap, London EC3M 1JP, England.