Diagnosed with Cancer, Man Spends Final Days on the Mississippi


You may have heard the story of Kelly Phillips, his dog Sapphire, and his old houseboat “Shameless”.

The 51-year-old Wisconsin native began his journey down the Mississippi River 20 months ago after being diagnosed with cancer. Doctors told him he had only three months to live. Wanting to die on his own terms, Kelly thought the Mississippi River would be a good place to go, so he bought a 1972 houseboat and headed downriver.

Three months went by, then six months… So he decided to head further downriver.

The river became his home and the people he met along the way became family. Kelly dropped anchor in Algiers Point – New Orleans was originally going to be his last stop – but he hopes to be in Venice, Louisiana, by January 23 where he plans to meet up with many of his “river friends”. 

To aid him in his trip, Crescent River Pilots, a separate entity not affiliated with Crescent Towing, donated an AIS system for his houseboat and Cooper/T. Smith Mooring’s Jeff Guilott assisted with the install. A laptop, power supply and a few other items were among the donations. With the AIS system, anyone can follow Kelly’s voyage down the Mississippi River.

Kelly and Sapphire boarded “Shameless” and set out for Venice at 10 a.m. on January 22. We wish him well on his journey down the Mississippi. 

You can follow their voyage by visiting https://secure.mrtis.com/. From the left menu select “Vessel” and then search for “Shameless”. 

Read more about Kelly and his story: https://www.nola.com/news/2019/01/after-cancer-diagnosis-man-chooses-to-die-sailing-down-the-mississippi-river-with-his-dog.html 

Photo credit: NOLA.com