"When you join Swim Across America, your family grows and you see the bigger picture. We all become a part of SAA for our own reasons but, once you do, you join the family...there is strength in that." - Craig Beardsley
Swim Across America is highlighting our amazing participants and top fundraisers and their inspiration for why they swim with SAA. If you are interested in sharing your #WhyISwim story with Swim Across America, please contact us.
MARK WINNE SAA - ATLANTA WHY I SWIM: "There’s no mathematically plausible explanation for Kate’s wondrous story of surviving and thriving in the midst of 12 occurrences of colon cancer besides a true power-of-prayer miracle. And Swim Across America, which funded a groundbreaking immunotherapy trial which saved her life when we were out of conventional medical options, has been an instrument in the Hand of God. Truly. And the SAA community has embraced and uplifted us many times, adding to a debt I can never repay."
LAUREN ALFINO SAA - DENVER WHY I SWIM: "Swim Across America means so much to me because I can see and have been part of so much of what SAA does. As a cancer survivor, I appreciate the work they do towards raising money for cancer research. As a swimmer, I love that I can use my sport to make a difference in the world. And as a cancer researcher, the knowledge that so many people believe in us and want to see progress and growth in our fight against caner gives me inspiration. I am proud to be a patient ambassador and am excited to make a positive change in the world with Swim Across America."
ASHLEY GOLDMAN SAA - FAIRFIELD COUNTY WHY I SWIM: "I swim to not only raise money for cancer research but to show my support for all cancer fighters and survivors. This October will be my tenth anniversary since being diagnosed with a rare ovarian cancer at age 23. Swim Across America gives hope to the millions of people around the world affected by cancer and I am honored to raise money and make big waves to fight cancer!"
JESSICA STOKES SAA - BOSTON WHY I SWIM: "In January 2018, my husband Rick was diagnosed with colon cancer. We were both already deeply involved with SAA. As some may know, caregivers have their own burdens to carry while a loved one is treated for cancer. It feels like there is so little you can DO to help! Fundraising for SAA felt so good for me because I was able to make something positive come out of a really difficult year. The SAA community has become especially important to us because it represents hope and connection to a community of people who understand share parts of our journey. We are so grateful that Rick is currently in remission and excited to be involved in Boston again this year." (Read more here)
NATHAN ADRIAN SAA - SEATTLE WHY I SWIM: Nathan has been involved in SAA - Seattle since 2016, when his good friend Matt Benoit started Team Benoit while undergoing treatments at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance. "My buddy Matt called me up to invite me to the Swim Across America event in Lake Washington. He said he wanted to get a big group of people up here to celebrate, enjoy each other's company, and raise as much money for cancer research as possible. Matt unfortunately passed in April of 2016 but we are most definitely still swimming in his honor and most definitely doing our best to raise as much money for the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance as humanly possible."
STEVEN LURIE SAA - SAN FRANCISCO WHY I SWIM: “My oldest son, Seth, was diagnosed with a rare cancer, rhabdomyosarcoma, on November 16, 2016 at the age of three. Before then, he was a regular child with no medical problems. His cancer was the result of a random mutation that could happen to any child. He has now completed a year of chemotherapy and six weeks of radiation and is in remission (and back at school). We hope he stays cancer free. Seth was treated at the University of California San Francisco children's hospital (UCSF). I joined the Swim Across America community so that, together, we can help fund childhood cancer research.” (Read more here)
BRAD JOHNSON SAA - CHARLESTON-KIAWAH WHY I SWIM: "I am a late stage cancer surviver and former clinical trial patient now 16 years removed from my experience with cancer and treatments. My drive to drive back to the rearch community that saved my life has only grown stronger over the past 16 years. I am very aware that the programs available to me in my time of need were funded by dollars raised by others prior to my diagnosis. Shortly after completing treatments, I found endurance sports as a tool to give back to the community of professionals that saved my life while rebuilding by body and spirit. In this continued focus, alignment with Swim Across America - its vision, its event structure and its people - has been a perfect match. The organization, its mission and the way that it goes about maximizing its impact is unique and powerful, and it is a gift and a privilege to be associated with each individual in the organization, from the CEO through the national office and extending out to each individual swim." (Read more here)
WALTER DENTON SAA - ST. LOUIS WHY I SWIM: "I first became involved with SAA in Dallas in 2011 following my father’s death from leukemia. At the time, my wife and I thought it would be a great idea to have an event in our hometown of St. Louis. In 2013 I was diagnosed with sarcoma which brought even greater urgency to our idea. Since my diagnosis, I have undergone three surgeries, chemotherapy (three different times), radiation, cryoablation, a stem cell transplant, and a sarcoma recurrence while also battling multiple infections and spending more than 100 days in the hospital. Ironically, the treatment for my recurrence was Keytruda, the same immunotherapy drug that was funded by SAA. Thanks to SAA and the committed doctors at the Siteman Cancer Center, my disease is currently stable and I am enjoying life’s blessings each day. I am grateful for what Swim Across America has done, is doing, and will do through the generous donations of cancer fighters everywhere." (Read more here)
MIKE FORD SAA - NASSAU/SUFFOLK WHY I SWIM: Mike got involved with SAA in 2000 as your average participant. In 2004 his mission changed when three close friends were stricken with cancer. He was inspired to do more and created TEAM HOPE. Shortly after forming the team, in fall 2005, his wife Patti was diagnosed with cancer. The fight against cancer became very personal and Mike became anything but your average participant leading his team to raise over $1 million in the following decade. He says: “The members of TEAM HOPE are committed to the support of our families and friends who are engaged in the struggle against cancer. We have dedicated ourselves to the memory of those whose battle is over and who are now at peace. We capitalize both TEAM and HOPE because we feel that these words are interdependent and equally important. Our TEAM gives us HOPE and HOPE gives our TEAM its reason for being.” (Read more here)
KATIE LALLANDE KALKA SAA - CHARLOTTE WHY I SWIM: "Cancer is so pervasive- it seems that everyone has their own personal story about how cancer has impacted their lives. Early last year my dad was diagnosed with Stage IV Metastatic Lung Cancer. Though it was caught early, this cancer is inoperable. If you look up the historical survival rates, it’s a daunting proposition. My dad, fit and young at heart, is now facing the fight of his life- for his life. My dad’s treatment is taking place at the Levine Cancer Institute right here in Charlotte, and his care team is using a strategy that is new to cancer-fighting front called immunotherapy. His immunotherapy drug is Keytruda, made by Merck. Reports from those who have used Keytruda give us hope for my dad. By swimming, I raise funds for Swim Across America who continues funding the research and work at Levine Cancer Institute. I’m here now to do what I can to fight it, to try and tame it for my dad, and for the millions of other families and friends watching their loved ones go through the same thing. I don’t have my medical degree, but I absolutely can do my part to help fund the groundbreaking, and life changing work that these doctors and institutions take on.”
EMILY CRABTREE SAA - CHICAGO WHY I SWIM: "Swim Across America - Chicago benefits Rush University Medical Center Cancer Center, which is where I've been treated since being diagnosed with sarcoma in 2002. I absolutely love Rush, which sounds odd to love a hospital and the people that work there, but I truly believe that I'm in the best of hands at Rush. I was diagnosed with a malignant fibrous histiocytoma sarcoma (MFH sarcoma) in 2002 when I was 19 years old. In December of 2004, I was declared cancer free. I thought that was the end of it. My life was forever changed because of cancer, but for the better. I had a great new perspective and was determined to cherish every moment. Fast forward to June of 2012 (8 years later), on a random chest xray, there was a small lung nodule that had popped up on my lung. The nodule was removed and did in fact test positive for sarcoma. My cancer was back, and it's been pesky ever since. I've relapsed 7 times. I've been on chemotherapy since April of 2014. Cancer is just a part of my everyday life. It is what it is. I'm so hoping for new and effective treatments that will help me beat this once and for all." (Read more here)
CAITLIN MARCOUX SAA - NANTUCKET WHY I SWIM: "Like everyone who participates in Swim Across America, I have a personal stake in conquering cancer. At the age of 27, it took from me my husband. When I was 34 my father fought his own epic battle and when I turned 36 I went face to face with breast cancer and my own mortality. In the years since I first spoke at our 2013 SAA Nantucket event, I’ve grown passionate about supporting our local cancer community; doing whatever I can to help others find their way through this traumatic experience one way or another; often using yoga coaching as the medium of support but always participating in our annual SAA campaign. The longer I stay active in this work, the more my resolve strengthens. I have lost too many to this illness, yet with each departure I am reminded of the preciousness of life and try to celebrate their memories by renewing my own gratitude. I swim in honor of these loved one and in support of the people who are currently fighting. I swim because there was a time I could not and because I hope to inspire others to get involved, to become educated, to make a donation and get to in the water." (Read more here)
RYAN BERUBE SAA - DALLAS WHY I SWIM: "My first SAA swim was the inaugural Dallas swim, which was in 2011. My wife was diagnosed with a brain tumor (pituitary prolactinoma) at age 17, and had surgery to remove it three years later at University of Virginia. I was there for her surgery, and there for the life-changing "all-clear" doctor's appointment. So cancer is part of our family story. Utilizing my Olympic background to actually do something about the fight against cancer was a perfect fit! We know that the work we are funding is helping people right here in our community, in communities across this amazing country, and in communities across the globe." (Read more here)
ADAM SCHOEN SAA - HOUSTON WHY I SWIM: "My diagnosis of brain cancer came in July ‘18, which was immediately followed by a year’s worth of treatment, including surgery, rehab, radiation, and chemo. It was such a frightening whirlwind that it was an adjustment to take it more than ‘one day at a time’ again. Now that I've reached that point, I'm excited to swim. I'm swimming because it’s fun (obvi), because it's been a goal I’ve been working toward for a year, because it's a way to give back to MD Anderson and raise funds for research, treatment and future patients, and because my 2 1/2 year-old will be heartbroken if he finds out I’m not Daddy Shark." (Read more here)
SAMANTHA ROCKS SAA - BALTIMORE WHY I SWIM: "I swim in memory of my mom Cristy Rocks, who died in 2016 after suffering with GI cancer for 2 years. I grew up sailing and swimming in the Chesapeake Bay with my family and my mom was treated at Hopkins, so participating in SAA Baltimore honors her memory in a very personal way. Every year at the swim, I see the faces of people who’s lives our fundraising has helped save, and even though I still wish my mom could be one of those faces, it helps us to cope with her loss to know that our swimming is truly making a difference. Go Team ROCK ON!" (Read more here)
CARLI TAYMANS SAA - TAMPA WHY I SWIM: Carli participated in last year’s SAA Tampa Bay swim when her mom, who was there to cheer her on, visited the Moffitt Mole Patrol during the event and found out she had Melanoma on her back. The Melanoma was removed and her mom’s health is fine now but it gave a whole new meaning to Carli: “I’ve definitely put a lot more work into it this year because of what happened to my mom.” (Read more here)
SANTIAGO LIMA SAA - RICHMOND WHY I SWIM: "I swim because some of the cutting-edge research that has been funded by Swim Across America saved my wife’s life. And as a cancer researcher myself, I understand just how important, and how expensive, cancer research truly is. So when you hear that “every penny counts”, it is not a slogan, it is a reality, and every donation can help those like my wife that need it the most."
JOHN O'NEILL SAA - RHODE ISLAND WHY I SWIM: "We all have Family members who battle cancer. We all have Friends who battle cancer. In our lifetime, 1 in 2 men and 1 in 3 women will be diagnosed with cancer. We at Providence College joined the SAA community so that, together, we can help change that. 364 days a year we compete with each other, but today, we all wear the same swim cap. We’ve all been touched by cancer and we swim in honor of survivors and those we’ve lost so that others may have hope." (Read more here)
BRUCE DUNBAR SAA - LONG ISLAND SOUND WHY I SWIM: "Like they say in the movie trailers, "This time, it's personal." I swam my first SAA event nearly 30 years ago, encouraged by fellow swimmers and in honor of my father, who had passed away from colon cancer weeks after my college graduation. The research-focused mission of SAA and the quality of institutions they have partnered with from the start always gave me confidence that the money we raised would have a real impact. Then, in 2017, I was diagnosed with Stage IV lung cancer with metastases to my spine and brain. After a life as a high level athlete, a never smoker and other wise a picture of health, it was a complete shock. But it also gave me the opportunity to realize the impact that decades of funding research have on real people -- an opportunity that saved my life. Since diagnosis, I have been on a targeted therapy that was approved for use just weeks before I was diagnosed. It's beaten back the cancer and is holding it at bay. And it inspired long-time friends in the Long Island Sound Swim community to come together last summer as Team Bruce. We celebrated all the wins against cancer SAA has made possible and raised over $300,000 to help ensure many more people get the same benefits from research that I have. Ultimately, we swim for a cure, but I swim every year because every step forward makes a real difference for real people." (Read more here)
LESLIE O'NEIL SAA - LOS ANGELES WHY I SWIM: "As I searched to find my way in the world with my recent cancer diagnoses (two such diagnoses in less than a year!), I stumbled upon a marvelous article in the WSJ about Swim Across America. I learned how this amazing organization has been bringing hope, joy and support to thousands of people for over 33 years by hosting charity swims in which the proceeds fund lifesaving cancer research and clinical trials. My husband died from cancer at a very young age, when our twin daughters were age three; there is still no cure in sight for his cancer due to lack of funding for research. Being a lifetime swimmer, one of my goals in life has been to swim in as many different bodies of water throughout the world. Upon “discovering” Swim Across America, my two worlds - cancer and swimming converged to create that new focus and passion I was searching to find. I am not just a cancer survivor; I am a cancer thriver. I can make a difference by joining the SAA Team. Swim Across America is making waves by raising money for our network of physicians and researchers who are developing new cures and treatments to fight cancer. With Swim Across America supporting some of the best cancer research facilities in the country, I now have hope. Hope for all cancer thrivers. And, that is why I swim."