World Travel Holdings announced today that Business Development Director Sean Tolkin will be the first American to run a marathon at sea during the company’s annual CruiseOne and Cruises Inc. National Conference onboard Norwegian Breakaway from Sept. 29 through Oct. 6. The marathon will take place on Saturday, Oct. 5 and benefit Make-A-Wish, the signature charity of World Travel Holdings.

“The travel industry has given me so much,” shared Tolkin, whose father Brad Tolkin is Co-Chairman and CEO of World Travel Holdings. “I wanted to find a way to blend my love of the travel industry and my passion for running to support our signature charity Make-A-Wish. Given that 75 percent of wishes involve travel, the marathon at sea idea was born.”

Supporting Make-A-Wish is more than fulfilling a child’s wish; it is about helping children feel stronger, more energetic and able to deal with their life-threatening medical conditions.

“Cruises are one of the more popular travel wishes; last year we sent more than 1,000 children on cruises,” said David Williams, President and CEO of Make-A-Wish America. “We appreciate the support of industry leaders such as World Travel Holdings and Norwegian Cruise Line that make our mission of granting wishes for children with life-threatening medical conditions possible.”  

The “Run Like a Champion, Cruise Like a Norwegian” Marathon At Sea will conclude a week of Make-A-Wish fundraising activities by CruiseOne and Cruises Inc. vacation specialists. Other fundraising efforts include prize drawings, Zumba@Sea – Dance For Wishes, silent auctions and more.

“More than 800 vacation specialists and their families will be attending the CruiseOne and Cruises Inc. National Conference, making it the perfect forum to raise awareness about and funds for Make-A-Wish,” said Dwain Wall, General Manager and Senior Vice President of CruiseOne and Cruises Inc.

A recent study of medical professionals, volunteers and Make-A-Wish alumni demonstrates the power a wish has to help children battle against their illnesses. Families return to a sense of normalcy and replace fear with happiness, children feel physically better and are more willing to cooperate with treatment and overall their quality of life improves.

“We have a longstanding alliance with Make-A-Wish and are proud to host cruise wishes throughout the year — even during the Marathon at Sea sailing,” said Andy Stuart, Executive Vice President of Global Sales and Passenger Services, Norwegian Cruise Line. “We are looking forward to having Sean be the first American to complete a marathon at sea on Norwegian Breakaway.”

A trained marathon runner and resident of New York City, Tolkin will run the ship’s track 210 times and expects to complete the marathon in less than five hours. His goal is to raise $26,200 — $1,000 per mile. To make a donation to Make-A-Wish, please visit http://friends.wish.org/100-100/page/CruiseOne-CruisesInc./Marathon-At-Sea.htm.