Has cancer has impacted your life? Perhaps it has not affected you directly, but you certainly know of a close family member or a dear friend who is dealing with the disease. We all want to do what we can to reduce the likelihood that anyone we love has to suffer with this menace.
For some of us, this means raising money and supporting charities that provide funding in the fight against cancer. (My wife Jenny will be participating in an Avon Walk for Breast Cancer this summer).
However if walking 40 miles isn’t for you, and the idea of paddling in the pool or the ocean is more appealing, let me tell you about a fantastic organization for swimmers.
From San Francisco to Boston with stops in between, Swim Across America (SAA) has kicked off its 25th year of raising money for cancer research. This year, swimmers across the United States will raise money by swimming at one (or more) of 50 events in a pool or in the open water.
According to Swimming World Magazine:
“Since 1987 Swim Across America, Inc. has raised over $40 million for cancer research, prevention and treatment through swimming- related events. The SAA community is made up of swimmers, friends, parents, sons and daughters, teachers, coaches and the well-meaning. Many of our most loyal supporters aren’t swimmers, but honor family and friends by donating, volunteering, or by helping us raise money in our continued effort to find a cure.”
And these events often have the support and endorsement of Olympic swimming superstars. For example, 3-time Gold Medalist Brooke Bennett will participate as the Honorary Chair at Tampa Bay’s open water swim on May 5th.
Brooke shared the following about her involvement with SAA:
My involvement with SAA began after my first gold medal. I traveled to Boston in ’97 for my first cold water open water swim. I went back two more years. Sad that it took me more than 10 years to get back, but thrilled to be back and more involved with their mission.
The stories and the lives SAA has touched are nothing short of moving and miraculous. And to now sit as the honorary chair in Tampa Bay’s inaugural swim is more amazing than I could have ever imagined. My team of volunteers and their efforts and passion…words don’t express. The involvement with Moffitt and their efforts make this all possible.
Meeting the swimmers, the ones who have survived cancer, like 79 year old Erik Schaeffer who had two cancerous spots removed from his leg, treated at Moffitt. He will swim the 1/2 mile.
And then a national level swimmer, who swam for Randy Reese at the University of Florida in the 80s and swam in two Olympic Trials (’88, ’92) Lorraine Perkins, is currently fighting stage four melanoma cancer is taking her fight to the water on May 5th, swimming the half mile.
This is why I swim and SAA is my passion to “make waves to fight cancer.”
So check out the Swim Across America site for an event near you. If you can’t participate as a swimmer, consider supporting someone who is. If you donate, you will be eligible to win an Endless Pool Swim Spa or a trip for two to Hawaii.
Special thanks to Mary DeMila for letting me know about SAA and the Swimming the Distance event in Cary, North Carolina on May 20, 2012 (she is the meet director). Good luck with your fundraising and your fight!