Team Poppy began in 2006 when Tom Ahern (Poppy to his legions of grandkids) received a dire diagnosis; 3 brain tumors which were deemed to be inoperable. After going through chemotherapy at Sloan, Poppy's tumors disappeared and he was cancer free. Fast forward to last year when a colon obstruction was determined to be stage 2 cancer. Tom again received amazing care at Sloan Kettering and has been cancer free since. Tom turns 90 this year and is incredibly grateful to the dedicated staff at Memorial Sloan Kettering who saved his life twice.
Unfortunately last year was a devastating one for some Team Poppy members and close friends and we wanted to share their stories and recognize that we're now swimming in honor of multiple cancer survivors.
Longtime Team Poppy Member Timmy McLaughlin received the news every parent dreads last year. Two nights of fever and pain in several parts of his body led Conor McLaughlin and his mom to the ER at Yale New Haven Children's Hospital/Smilow Cancer Center where he was diagnosed with leukemia (ALL) at the age of 2. One year into his chemo treatment he is now in maintenance with the hope to be cancer free by his 6th birthday. Conor, his parents and three brothers will be forever grateful to all the ALL patients before him who have allowed for such a successful prognosis.
Longtime Ahern family friend Sorcha SPROUL, single mom of 3 amazing girls, saw specks of blood in her urine last September. An diagnostic ultrasound led her to be admitted to the ER that same day. She would not leave the hospital again for 6 weeks during which she had the kind of surgery most people don't survive. Two more surgeries later, two bouts of radiation, an attempt at immunotherapy and now on a steady regimen of chemotherapy, Sorcha feels incredibly lucky to have persevered with the help of amazing doctors at New York Presbyterian and Memorial Sloan Kettering.
Longtime Team Poppy swimmer Devery O’Brien’s girlfriend, Elma, was diagnosed with breast cancer in Oct 2017 after her gyn felt a lump at her annual exam. After undergoing a lumpectomy in Jan, she was told that although the cancer was early stage, the tumor itself was aggressive in nature. She went through 4 chemo treatments, will do 6 weeks of radiation and then will be placed on hormone therapy. She feels better and stronger every day and is told she is cancer free.
“I feel extremely lucky that my cancer was caught early and am grateful for my amazing team of doctors. I cannot thank my family and friends enough for all their love and support. Thank you Swim Across America, Team Poppy and all participants for all you do!!!!!!!!”
Swim Across America, Inc., [SAA] is dedicated to raising money and awareness for cancer research, prevention and treatment through swimming- related events. With the help of hundreds of volunteers nationwide and past and current Olympians, SAA is helping find a cure for cancer through athleticism, community outreach and direct service.