Hard to believe this will be my fifth year that I am participating in Swim Across America, an excellent organization. SAA has contributed to the launch of a new drug, Keytruda. Here's some information on the new drug:
For the first time, the FDA has approved a drug—KEYTRUDA—for cancer-based disease genetics rather than the site of a tumor. KEYTRUDA now can be used for colon, pancreatic, stomach, ovarian and other cancers if genetic testing reveals defects in so-called mismatch repair. The clinical trials for KEYTRUDA were conducted at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg-Kimmel Institute. The testimonial letter from Johns Hopkins acknowledges that in 2009, Swim Across America was the first organization to believe in the KEYTRUDA research project and provide grant funding for KEYTRUDA clinical trials. In total, over $2.6 million in proceeds from SAA—Baltimore have funded clinical trials and lifesaving research at Johns Hopkins.
My first year, I swam for my mom, who is a survivor of non Hodgkins lymphoma; four years ago it was for Bernie, my mom's husband, who unfortunately died of the same disease days before my swim. Two years ago I swam for Molly - a vibrant young woman who was diagnosed w Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia - and I'm happy to report she's doing amazing! This year I am swimming for Harvey Berenson, my husbands cousin who has been fighting Myelodysplastic Bone Marrow Disorder.
My team is "Team Valerie," in honor of Valerie Malsch, a woman who I have known for 20 years who lives in my community. Over the past year Valerie has been battling Multiple Myeloma. She has, fortunately, responded well to treatment and is currently cancer free!!!! However there is no cure for Multiple Myeloma and it often comes back. Valerie underwent 5 months of chemotherapy and then went on a newly approved immunotherapy, a new class of drugs, late last year. Because there is no cure, Valerie started a maintenance drug cocktail this summer which she will stay on for the foreseeable future.
This year, in addition to swimming in honor of Valerie, I am swimming for everyone who has been afflicted by this horrible disease - survivors like my mom, Larry (my husband), my cousins Michael & Ruthie, Harvey, Molly, and for those who have been less fortunate and succumbed to the disease, like Bernie, my Aunt Helen, my Aunt Pearl, our neighbor Michelle Hirsch, Paulie Jiminez - a 9 year old boy in our community and all others.
I love to swim and even though I've done it four times by now, I am still overwhelmed when I jump in the water to embark on this open water swim that will take place on July 28th. I will once again enter the waters at the Larchmont Yacht Club and will pray for calm seas and a sunny day and most of all for your support!!!
In our lifetime, 1 in 2 men and 1 in 3 women will be diagnosed with cancer. I joined the SAA community so that, together, we can change that.
Please support me by sponsoring my swim and making a gift. With your support last year I was able to raise over $15,000!!! Let's see if we can raise the bar.
The money raised goes to: The Cancer Support Team based in Mamaroneck, NY that provides many services to cancer patients and their families, the Tommy Palazzo Fellowship for Pediatric Oncology Research at the Children's Hospital in NY and the Swim Across America Research Lab at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Thank you for your generosity and may it lead to a cancer-free world!
Please make a credit card donation here, or send a check to Swim Across America.