Our team honors two sarcoma patients, Grace and Julie.
Grace Bunke is TRULY amazing. You can watch more of her story as featured on local Atlanta station 11 alive here: http://www.11alive.com/news/local/amazing-grace-a-story-of-faith-and-tough-choices-1/198790662. In 2014, Grace was diagnosed with an osteosarcoma of her leg, had several rounds of chemotherapy and a unique surgery called a rotationplasty, where her leg was amputated and her foot and ankle were reattached to the remaining limb in order to give her a functional knee joint and the ability to move, swim, wear a prosthesis, and be a normal kid. But Grace has been anything but normal. Despite her cancer returning for not only a 2nd but also a 3rd time along the way, she transitioned from being accomplished runner to an accomplished swimmer. She competed in the Can-AM swimming championships and at the end of 2017 was invited to become a member of Team USA Paralympic Swimming. She never let her disease stop her, even when it tries its darndest to do so amidst recurrences in her lungs and spine. Her faith is palpable, contagious, and just downright inspirational.
Julie was diagnosed with an inflammatory myofibroblastic tumor (IMT) in the right lung in 2015, finding out that she'd been living with the tumor for several decades. IMT is a rare form of sarcoma that usually occurs in children, but can sometimes take years to manifest in adults, as it did for Julie. You can read more about her story, treatment, and quest to make waves to fight cancer here: http://www.gwinnettdailypost.com/sports/duluth-grad-julie-granger-fights-off-own-cancer-to-compete/article_5fd4ddd1-d4f6-52f2-830e-e140d177dd83.html. Julie underwent chemotherapy, two major surgeries, and radiation treatment to demolish her tumor that she named "Benedict." She wrote about Benedict in her blog and coined the hashtag #takethatbenedict on social media.
In 2017, Grace's first year and Julie's 2nd year, they teamed up and swam together among with a literal pack of family members, friends, beloved medical team members, old and new teammates from their team (pictured above). For both, the swim (one mile in Lake Lanier) was meaningful, as they had recently completed cancer treatments and swimming that far was no simple accomplishment.
Watch Grace & Julie's swim moments together (2017 11alive Story by Cheryl Preheim): http://bit.ly/2HCyTGf
Team Amazing Grace + #takethatbenedict is thrilled to swim for the patients at the AFLAC Cancer & Blood Disorders Center, a very meaningful place for both Grace and Julie. AFLAC is Grace's treating hospital and clinic. Within it she has met and connected with a brilliant team of physicians, nurses, physical therapists, prosthetists, and many more special people. AFLAC is also a place where Julie worked part time as a physical therapist. For both of them, it is a very special place, and they couldn't be more thrilled to honor and serve the people who make the AFLAC Cancer Center so special.
All proceeds from the Swim Across America-Atlanta event benefit cutting edge research that goes directly to the physicians performing some amazing clinical trials at the AFLAC Cancer Center. The physicians attended our event last year and were awe struck at our organization and how much we came together to support their cause. We can't wait to support them even more.
You can make a credit card donation by clicking on one of the members of our team below, or send a check to Swim Across America, c/o Nancy Peek, PO Box 1078, Tucker, GA 30085.
Your check should be made out to Swim Across America but please include a note mentioning our team or the swimmer you are supporting!
Let's go make waves to fight cancer!