The summer has finally arrived after a long cold Spring here on Nantucket. It is open water season and we are swimming in Nantucket Harbor and Sound near Jetties Beach. I am preparing for another four-mile marathon swim on August 19, 2017 along the northern coast of Nantucket for Swim Across America. The main community swim will take place on August 26th and feature a number of options including one mile, ½ mile and ¼ mile and kid swims. The Nantucket Swim Across America event raises funds to assist those who are battling cancer. Last year my team raised over $35,000 between colleagues, friends and family and we were the highest grossing team. I have been deeply moved by the response and support to this appeal. It is a great cause and supports the expansion of oncology treatment at Nantucket Cottage Hospital and assists those unable to pay for care to get cancer care. While there are many who vacation on Nantucket that fly in private jets, the year round community, is a diverse and hardworking group of people, many of those in financial need. The funds we raise go to assist and sustain cancer care on Nantucket for both the seasonal and year round residents.
There was an interesting report in JAMA that came out this year noting that cancer mortalities have declined nationally but also dramatically in Nantucket by 42% . This decline in cancer mortalities is too short termed to say it is permanent but one reason some think it may have declined is due to the expansion of cancer treatment on the Island directly funded by this Swim and the fact that Islanders watch out for one another. This has been labeled the “Nantucket Effect”. There is no better demonstration of the “Nantucket Effect” then the Nantucket Swim Across America. Over 500 people participate as swimmers, volunteers, kayakers, bottle washers and food servers. The Swim represents what is great about Island living and a celebration of the challenging waters of the North Atlantic that surrounds us. It is hard to witness this swim and not get emotional. I would ask that you once again provide your support to this cause. If for some reason you cannot give this year, I would ask for you to look for a local swim or cause you can support and try to create your own local “effect” to fight cancer. The good feelings from participating in these community events are healing and good for the soul. We swim to save lives and we ask you to join us in this cause.
I hope to repeat my goal of swimming the four-mile marathon under 2 hours. Last year for the marathon swim, we had seven people all raising a minimum of $4,000 and swimming under two hours. We also had a favorable tide which we saw as a sign from the Almighty that approved of our efforts. You can make a credit card contribution with the link below, or send a check made out to Swim Across America to either Jill Roethke, 14 Bluebird Lane, Nantucket MA 02554 or me at 50 N. Liberty Street Nantucket, MA 02554. Thanks for your generosity. Let’s do this!