We have committed to swim until we can't swim anymore.
We will swim until there is a cure for cancer---cancer of all types. But one type of cancer is particularly meaningful to this team, and we are determined to swim for a cure for ourselves, our friends, our family members, and those we've met along the way who haven't been as fortunate as us to JUST KEEP SWIMMING.
Team #takethatbenedict + Amazing Grace honors two sarcoma survivors, Julie Granger and Grace Bunke. Julie was diagnosed with an inflammatory myofibroblastic tumor (IMT) in the right lung at age 31 after 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's first year with Swim Across America was last year. During the same year, 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. Amidst her treatment, Julie committed to the Atlanta swim, volunteered as a member of the event planning committee, and served as chair of the SAA-Atlanta Junior Advisory Board, following her heart to work with young swimmers.
Julie's heart was struck even more in late 2016 when she learned of one young swimmer named Grace Bunke, or "Amazing Grace" as her new honorable team name depicts her. Grace 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. 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. She went from being an accomplished runner to an accomplished swimmer, qualifying for several Can-Am swimming events in the Paralympic organization. She practices at Swim Atlanta and doesn't let her disease stop her, even when it tries its darndest to do so amidst recurring lung metastases. Her faith is palpable, contagious, and just downright inspirational. We are thrilled to have Grace on our team!
But we don't just swim for people with sarcoma. We swim for Marin Morrison, a Georgia swimmer who fought a courageous battle with brain cancer, qualified for and swam in the Beijing Paralympics, and passed away in 2009. We swim for Lauren Beam, a former NYU swimmer who fought a courageous battle with colon cancer, ran marathons and surfed all the way up until just before her death. and passed away in 2011.
And we swim for the patients at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta in the AFLAC Cancer & Blood Disorders Center. All proceeds from the Swim Across America-Atlanta event benefit cutting edge research that goes directly to the physicians performing some amazing clinical trials. 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.
So what are you waiting for? There are SO many opportunities to support us! Join our team, make a donation (NO amount is too small), register as a volunteer, a boater (kayaker or paddleboarder), become an event sponsor, become an in-kind sponsor...the list goes on and on. Want to show up and be a cheerleader? Fantastic! We need those too! Want to help us host a local fundraiser leading up to the event? Great! Or are you not sure how you can support us but want to do so in some way? Just reach out and let us know!
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!