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The Mission Doesn't Stop! Anyone that is passionate about cancer research and wants to continue to support SAA - Atlanta and Children's Healthcare of Atlanta can participate in their own personal challenge all year. Stay tuned for the best yet to come for SAA-Atlanta in 2021!

  • SAA—Atlanta funds support the research efforts for five young investigators at the Aflac Cancer & Blood Disorders Center of Children's Healthcare of Atlanta. The intent is to fund physicians and provide career and project support for young, proven investigators in postdoctoral fellowships or who have recently achieved junior faculty positions and are committing their lives to the field of pediatric cancer. Funding is designed to nurture young scientist in the pursuit of independent hypotheses and to enable them to develop the preliminary data necessary to successfully compete for major research grants. SAA Funding will support 5 young investigators; Drs. Aumann, Summers, Kazi, Henry, and Smart, and their respective pediatric cancer research projects.


The Mission Doesn't Stop! We've reached the coast to coast finish line, but we can keep fighting cancer. Anyone that is passionate about cancer research and wants to continue to support SAA - Atlanta and Children's Healthcare of Atlanta can participate in their own personal challenge all year.

How can I still support SAA-Atlanta?

  • Register and recruit friends to join you in your own personal challenge for SAA-Atlanta. Anyone that is passionate about cancer research can participate all year!
  • Check the SAA Matching Gifts Portal for any donations that can be matched by companies.
  • Continue fundraising to support life-saving research at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta all year. Connect your SAA page to Facebook and use our Fundraising Messages and Social Media shareables.
  • Spread the word about Swim Across America and bring a new friend in 2021!!

Even in these uncertain times, we can continue making waves to fight cancer. As we navigate COVID-19, we've created a special webpage for event updates, helpful information and ways you can continue to support the mission of Swim Across America.

Welcome to the Swim Across America - Atlanta Open Water Swim. Each year, we are proud to support over 1,000 swimmers and volunteers, spectators and supporters, as well as Olympians near and far all coming together to support cancer research at the Aflac Cancer & Blood Disorders Center of Children's Healthcare of Atlanta.

Established in 2013, the SAA - Atlanta swim has donated more than $2.25 million to the Aflac Cancer & Blood Disorders Center of Children's Healthcare of Atlanta. From 2013 to 2016, SAA—Atlanta fundraising efforts supported Dr. Tobey MacDonald and his team’s research of pediatric brain cancer at the Swim Across America Lab, located at the Aflac Cancer Center Egleston Campus. Dr. MacDonald’s research led to identification of a novel driver of medulloblastoma tumor growth and metastasis. The first pediatric trial of the STAT3 inhibitor drug, WP1066, officially opened for enrollment in early 2020!

Funds raised from the 2016-2019 swims supported leukemia research and clinical trials under the direction of Dr. Douglas Graham and his team of researchers at the Aflac Cancer Center and the Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University. Thanks to the strong partnerships between Swim Across America, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, the Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center, and the Graham/DeRyckere laboratory, clinical trials are underway to help pediatric and adult patients with AML.

Unfortunately due to COVID-19 we are unable to have a live in-person event this summer. Alternatively, we will be offering a virtual 'Coast to Coast' Challenge as a way for swimmers, volunteers, family and friends to continue to support research at our beneficiaries.

If you have any questions about SAA - Atlanta, please contact Nicole Schwartz or Alison Millsaps.


Swim Across America-Atlanta will be participating in Coast to Coast - a virtual activity tracking and fundraising challenge where participants will work together to travel across America with a mission to support cancer research. Participants can choose their own activity and goals that will support Team SAA-Atlanta move across America. Activities can include a walk, bike ride, run, swim or any favorite physical activity in any safe location in your local community. You can even log cancer treatment hours! The virtual route will travel to each Swim Across America open water event city (21 ‘stops’) for a 7,686 mile journey. Tracking will begin June 22nd.


Questions about participating in Coast to Coast? All your answers can be found in Frequently Asked Questions.


The full course map and distances for all legs can be found here.


You can find some new and inspiring fundraising messages crafted for 2020 as well as shareable graphics for Instagram, Facebook and your Participant Center to boost your fundraising for the 'Coast to Coast' challenge here.



'All 2020 SAA - Atlanta participants will receive the 2020 commemorative shirt as a thank you for their support and commitment to Swim Across America. This shirt features the slogan "The Mission Doesn't Stop" on the front - a reference to 34 years and counting of impact we've had 'Making Waves To Fight Cancer' with all the SAA cities on back. The tri-blend shirt comes in blue to recognize our frontline heroes in hospitals and research centers in this unprecedented year.



Registration and Fundraising:

To Join the Coast to Coast Challenge, there is a small personal DONATION of $25 to get you started, and while we will encourage you to fundraise, there is NO Fundraising Minimum to participate. We are all working together as an event to travel coast to coast, but you can still choose to register as an individual or as a part of a fundraising team. Teams can be an inspirational way to honor a loved one and motivate your family and friends to register with you!


Already registered for SAA - Atlanta? Great! No need to change your registration. You are already eligible to participate in the activity tracking challenge.


Note, Online Fundraising Pages on the SAA website are still available, and you can still use Facebook and other Social Media platforms to solicit additional donations. Proceeds from the challenge will support cancer research the Aflac Cancer & Blood Disorders Center of Children's Healthcare of Atlanta.


If this is your first time participating or if you just need some tips to be a better fundraiser, click here. It will walk you through the participant center and teach you how to email donors, share on social media sites and download the fundraising app.

You may support the swimmer of your choice by making an online donation. Or you may send a check, payable to Swim Across America, to the address below:

Swim Across America - Atlanta
C/O Nancy Peek
PO Box 1078
Tucker, GA 30085

Make sure to include a note with the name of the swimmer you are donating to.

SAA - Atlanta has put together a fundraising toolkit to provide you with some more resources and tips to make fundraising a breeze. Click here to view our 2020 fundraising toolkit.



The Swim Across America Junior Advisory Board is a volunteer group of select middle and high school students who were selected by the SAA Core Committee through an application process to lead their school or club swim team in participation, team-building and fundraising. For more information on the Junior Advisory Board, email the advisor Jessica Cooper.

2020 Junior Advisory Board Members:

Junior Advisory Board President: Emma Schwartz
Junior Advisory Board Secretary: Grace Drawdy

Maggie Anders
Mary Claire Anderson
Patrick Carr
Grace Drawdy
Grace Kelly
Reagan Lapes
Camille Messonnier
Ariana Ramsey
Aidan Saunders
Emma Schwartz
Saavan Shah
Andrew Wyatt
Olivia Yahne
Prielle Zafft


This is an award to honor Grace Bunke’s positive attitude, fearless determination, and infinite spirit. Swim Across America Atlanta will present the award annually at the open water swim event as a way of keeping Grace in our hearts as well as a reminder for Why We Swim. The purpose of the award is to encourage everyone to take after Grace and to remember that “hope has no finish line.” Grace was loved and admired for her go-getter attitude and display of grit in the face of hardship. Grace represents the passion and commitment that Swim Across America participants and its supporters embrace in Atlanta and across the country to swim, to volunteer and to fundraise to the fullest potential and to "Make Waves to Fight Cancer." The award honors Grace while simultaneously promoting perseverance and fearless determination and recognizing an individual who embraces these same qualities of character.

Read more about the award here. Because the 2020 open water event has been canceled, nominations will open back up in 2021 for the next Amazing Grace Bunke award winner.



SAA Atlanta funds benefit the Aflac Cancer & Blood Disorders Center of Children's Healthcare of Atlanta.

Want to know more about our beneficiary and where the funds go? Click here to learn more.

You can also learn more about the specific research projects being funded with our 2020 grant here.




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