Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Swim Across the Sound

I'll warn each of you that I am once again soliciting small donations for a swimming event, this time the Swim Across the (Long Island) Sound.

Now, I know what you're thinking here:

a) Can't this guy just swim for free ?
b) Should he really be using 'swim across' in a sentence that also features the pronoun I ?

Fortunately, I am not actually attempting to Swim Across the entire Sound- that's a 15-17 mile journey (depending on tide and navigation abilities of your boat captain). I'm on a six person team, who will no doubt make sure my one-sixth of the journey is as short as possible. Even better, if you'd prefer to give money to support Margit's swim, she's on the same team as I am (poor Margit).

But here's where it gets serious: We're swimming to honour the memory of Dave Parcells, who was the guiding force behind this annual charity event. Dave died while swimming the Tampa Bay Marathon Swim earlier this year and his passing has affected a tremendous number of people.

Here's what my teammate John Brennan said about Dave and the Swim: "The Swim Across the Sound has always been a great event to benefit a great cause for St. Vincent’s. Dave Parcells made it even greater over the years with his tireless devotion to the event and the sport of endurance swimming. He was a great man, friend, and most importantly a great father. To those of us that do extreme sports Dave was super human with his drive and courage from Ironman races which pale in comparison to not only his single crossing of the English Channel but also to his double crossings of the English Channel. Dave passed away suddenly in April doing the sport he loved the most while competing in the 24 Mile Tampa Bay Marathon Swim. You will be missed Dave but never forgotten. So please help out this year and make this swim in David’s memory a great achievement for St. Vincent’s. Thank you.

The best thing is that this time you don't have to send a check (those of you who have supported my plunge efforts have had varying success getting your checks cash in a timely fashion). You can go to Active.com and donate.

Please consider a small donation to this worthy cause, and yes, I'll cough up pictures of the swim after it's over (along with some sea bilge)...

What is the Swim?
The Swim Across the Sound was inspired by people whose lives had been touched by cancer and who were determined to turn that experience into positive, active steps to help others. One of the region's most exciting and compelling athletic events, the Swim involves amateur solo swimmers and relay teams, swimming 25 kilometers from Port Jefferson, LI to Captain’s Cove in Bridgeport to raise pledges to help cancer patients and their families.

While the Swim marathon is the marquee event, the Swim has grown dramatically, sponsoring more than 30 events annually to raise funds to help support cancer survivors, such as the Tour de Sound (bike ride), Aquathon, Sikorsky Walk to Fight Women's Cancers, Teen Smoke Stoppers, and a Circus for Special Children.

The Swim’s mission is committed to breaking down the barriers to access for cancer screening and prevention programs. It is also committed to providing education about how people can minimize their risks for cancer and improve their chances of surviving the disease. The Swim supports no research, but has a unique niche, providing services 34 cancer education, screening and prevention programs of which many are free. The Swim typically offers help for services that traditional health insurance would not cover. In addition, the Swim helps cancer patients on a case-by-case basis to fit an individual’s specific needs.

St. Vincent’s Medical Center Foundation along with a young man who had lost a leg to cancer launched the Swim in 1987. The purpose was to raise awareness of the impact cancer could have on an individual and their families and help raise funds to help these patients deal with real life issues. The Swim raised a total of $5,000 in its first year. Since then the Swim has grown dramatically, raising $2.5 million in 2004 and helping more than 18,000 cancer patients and their families.

For several years, the marathon swim was the only fundraising event. In the early 90's, after several successful years, the race was converted into a professional marathon swim across the Sound. It became part of a professional marathon circuit and many of the world's best swimmers began coming to Bridgeport to compete in this exciting event. The Swim returned to its amateur roots in 2003, converting the swim marathon back to all amateurs.

Talk to anyone who takes part in the Swim or its other events other as a competitor, volunteer, sponsor or fan and you'll quickly understand why the Swim is so important. The fact is, everyone knows someone whose life has been changed by cancer, and through the Swim everyone can help. The race against cancer is a war that must be fought on many fronts, and all are important. We believe that cancer prevention and early detection (when cancer is most curable) provide the best opportunities to make the greatest possible impact on the greatest number of people with the funds we raise.

Whether by providing no-cost/low-cost mammography screening, helping teens stop smoking, or assisting patients undergoing cancer therapy, the Swim brings a message of hope that the direction of cancer can be changed. None of the successes of the Swim would be possible without the special volunteers and donors who support us. The hundreds of supporters who join each year makes all this possible.

Today, the Swim has become one of the most successful fundraising events of its kind in the USA. Please join the Swim in turning the tide against cancer.

2 comments:

Steven Munatones said...

How many people compete in this remarkable 25K swim every year? Is it still part of the professional marathon circuit (e.g., FINA Open Water Swimming Grand Prix)? Where can I find the results from the last few years? Thank you very much. To raise $2.65 million is remarkable!

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