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. Then in 2017, 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 94 this year and is incredibly grateful to the dedicated staff at Memorial Sloan Kettering who saved his life twice.
Unfortunately, the last few years have been devastating 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 and in memory of others.
Kevin Ahern's sister-in-law Carmen Cerasela Raica passed away on February 4 of this year at the young age of 54 after battling breast cancer that ultimately spread throughout her body. Her sister Alina was there by her side, comforting Carmen and attending to her needs for the last several weeks of her life. She is survived by her daughter Christina.
Conor McLaughlin was diagnosed with leukemia (ALL) at the age of 2. After 3 years of chemotherapy, Conor finished up treatment and is now cancer free. His parents and three brothers will be forever grateful to their families and friends who have given them such love and support and to organizations like Swim Across America whose funding contributed to Conor's positive prognosis. Conor's mom, Timmy, is swimming with Team Poppy.
Longtime Ahern family friend Sorcha Sproul, widowed mother of 3 amazing young girls, saw specks of blood in her urine in September, 2017. Diagnostic tests delivered the devastating diagnosis of stage 4 renal cancer and she only barely survived the surgery she had to remove her left kidney. For nearly two years, she endured several more surgeries, bouts of radiation, an attempt at immunotherapy and numerous hospitalizations. Sorcha passed away in August of 2019 at the age of 55.
Longtime Team Poppy swimmer Devery O’Brien’s girlfriend Elma was diagnosed with breast cancer in Oct 2017. She underwent a lumpectomy, chemo and radiation. Now in remission and on maintenance medication, she is feeling great! She is thankful for her remarkable team of doctors, support from family and friends, and all the hard work and research that the Swim Across America organization has made possible.
You can make a credit card donation by clicking on one of the members of our team below, or send a check to Swim Across America. If you choose to send a check, please make sure to reference Team Poppy on it.
Thank you for your continued support!!
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.
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