Just keep swimming…for HOPE!
Many of you know why I started swimming…GRACE BUNKE.
For those of you not familiar with the story:
In 2017, Grace swam 1 mile at the Open Water Atlanta Swim for Swim Across America, despite having metastatic osteosarcoma in her spine and lungs. Following her swim she shared with us why she swam - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i1gIscr8VaE. Following her speech I gave her a huge hug and was forever inspired by the words she spoke.
In 2018 Grace’s mother and my friend, Vicki, swam a mile in Lake Lanier along with Grace’s sister (Caroline), friends, and over 1000 other swimmers while Grace looked down on us from heaven and a red umbrella guided us along the way. We swam for hope, and to honor Grace, and to fulfill her wish to become the top national fundraiser. We finished (in about double the time it took Grace the prior year) and Grace was, in fact, the top national fundraiser!
In 2019 a mile was not enough. Grace had not wanted to swim the 1 mile event the year she died….but the 5K. So, Vicki convinced me to do what we absolutely needed to do – swim the 5K. Why? Because “Hope has no finish line”. And although hope has no finish line – the course at Lake Lanier does….and we were able to cross the line together - Vicki, Caroline, and some of Grace’s closet friends.
In 2020, Vicki had a calling – to swim 14 Swim Across America swims in honor of Grace – who died at age 14….after swimming in 14 competitive swim meets. And that is exactly what she is going to do. I will be joining my swim buddy for half of those this year in Tampa; Charleston; Larchmont; Denver; Charlotte; Baltimore; and of course…Atlanta!
BUT THIS IS WHY I “JUST KEEP SWIMMING”….
I swim because Swim Across America is a first-rate philanthropic organization, run by goodhearted and smart people, that gives back locally to fund promising cancer research where funding gaps exist.
I swim to thank Swim Across America and continue the momentum for the over $2.25 million dollars they have donated to a place near and dear to both my heart and that of Grace, The Aflac Cancer Center at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.
I swim to honor all of my patients – those who continue to inspire us here on earth, and those who inspire us through their memory and legacy.
But what really keeps me getting up at 4:15am and into the pool at 5am three times a week and traveling to 7 places across the country…?
I swim, to not only honor and remember Grace, but to spend time with and support my friend, Vicki – a friendship that is a testament to the good that can come from bad; and the beauty that can come from tragedy. It is a testament of HOPE.
PLEASE DONATE FOR HOPE