Every 15 minutes 50 Americans are diagnosed with cancer. The good news is that every year millions of Americans are beating cancer through advancements in research and treatments. I am proud to state that Swim Across America has been in the forefront of funding successful cutting edge research and investigators. But, our fight against cancer is not over yet and I am again writing to once again seek your assistance. On July 7, 2017, I will be participating again in Swim Across America’s Boston Harbor swim to benefit the David Perini Quality of Life Clinic at the Dana Farber Cancer Center and the Massachusetts General Hospital for Children Cancer Center. Throughout the summer and fall, I will also be attending and participating in other Swim Across America events across the country.
As many of you know, Swim Across America (“SAA”) is a national non-profit dedicated to raising money and awareness for cancer research through extreme swim related events. SAA has been a part of my life for the past 30 years. I have been a proud supporter of SAA from its inception, as a donor, swimmer, volunteer, General Counsel, member of the National Board of Directors and for the past seven years as Chairman of the Board of Directors. Our organization has grown from a humble single event swim in Long Island Sound, Connecticut, raising $5,000.00 in 1987, to seventeen open water swims across the country raising an estimated $7 million dollars annually. Swims are being held in Atlanta, Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, Greenwich, Nantucket, New York, Providence, San Francisco, Seattle, St. Louis and Tampa to supporting their local cancer centers. Our organization funds research labs and programs across the country in top hospitals like Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Massachusetts General Hospital, Memorial Sloane Kettering, Moffat, Johns Hopkins, Baylor and more. We continue to grow as an organization due to the generosity of all of you. This year we are approaching $80 million raised since 1987. We are on goal as an organization to raise $7 million this year and our past success has led to great advances in cancer research. Our research labs are on the cutting edge of research and have made international headlines for their success in defeating cancer.
Over the past two decades, SAA has awarded Memorial Sloan Kettering and Dr. Jedd Wolchok more than $15 million dollars, allowing MSK to conduct immunotherapy clinical trials and cutting-edge translational research. In fact, SAA is the largest non-government organization to financially support the immunotherapy research at MSK and this funding has played a major role in clinically developing four FDA approved immunotherapy medicines: ipilimulab, nivolumab, pembrolizumab and atezolizumab. At Johns Hopkins, SAA partnered with Dr. Luis Diaz in funding the clinical trials for an immunotherapy vaccine called Keytruda. With SAA funding Johns Hopkins was able to gain FDA approval of Keytruda which is now saving lives. These are just two examples of the impact Swim Across America has had in the fight against cancer. In 30 years, SAA has provided $70 million in SAA grants to its beneficiaries which has turned into an estimated $200 million in new funding which they would not have received but for the commitment of SAA. . For more information on our organization, please feel free to visit our website at www.swimacrossamerica.org.
During the past decade, I have visited Dana Farber, Memorial Sloane Kettering and other hospitals across the country where I have had the opportunity to observe firsthand the first class care so many patients have received in their valiant fight against cancer. The medical staff and child cancer patients have been an inspiration. I have learned so much from so many about the spirit of life, quality of life, and the will to live. Over the past year, I have once again had several good friends, classmates and their families face this terrible disease. It is with this in mind that I cannot walk away and, as a result, I continue to try to make a difference in the fight against cancer. I will be participating in the swim this year in their honor and for all of those cancer survivors and those fighting cancer who have taught us how to fight, never give up, and more importantly, how to live.
I am humbled every year by the response I get from this letter. I thank you for your support in the past, and I ask for your financial support again to help in our fight against cancer. I know I have gone to the same well for many years now, and I will forever be thankful for all your kind contributions. It is the generosity of people like you that have made an impact on such a terrible disease. To make your contribution, please visit www.swimacrossamerica.org/goto/hcurran16. To celebrate my 30 year commitment to this great organization, I have set a goal of 30 for 30, 30,000.00 for the 30 years SAA has fought hard in the fight against cancer. Please join me in the fight, with a donation, volunteering or signing up for a SAA swim, or just say a prayer that I still can float.
Thank you all for your continued friendship and generosity.
Very truly yours,
Hugh R. Curran