Kayla Hannon's Fundraising Page
I am swimming the Swim Across America Nantucket's 4-mile Open Water Swim on July 24, 2022, in memory of my mom, Kathy Hannon, who passed unexpectedly on May 27th 2022 at the age of 63.
My mom introduced me to the sport of swimming at an early age and I fell in love right away. She was the swim official at our community YMCA where she challenged and encouraged me as I competed in the “long-distance” events (200- and 500-yard freestyle). My mom was also an avid swimmer, so we enjoyed many open water swims together in the ocean or lake and always talked about completing a 5K swim together. Unfortunately, she passed before we were able to mark this challenge off our collective bucket list. Although this 4-mile race is a bit more than the endurance swim we talked about, my mom always pushed herself to the limits in everything she did and never gave up. This race is the perfect opportunity to honor my mom’s memory, spirit, and push myself to Live Like Kath.
When I was 5 years old, my mom was diagnosed with Breast Cancer and began chemotherapy. During her fight, she kept the most positive attitude possible and tried to make it to all four of her young kids’ events, despite having every excuse not to. As my soccer coach at the time, not only did my mom attend every game, but she decided that wasn’t enough. She took on the responsibility of coaching many other teams of 6-10 year olds that needed a coach, even while losing her hair and battling for her life. My mom was in remission for about 6 years and then took on another battle with Breast Cancer when it returned around the time I was 13. After undergoing a double mastectomy and an oophorectomy to remove her ovaries in 2008, my mother became a cancer survivor.
In addition to my mother, I swim in memory of my mom’s sister, Donna Blaum, who passed away at the age of 13 due to ovarian cancer, my mom’s mother, Terry Blaum, who passed away at the age of 78 due to ovarian cancer; and my mom’s father, Phillip Blaum, who passed away at the age of 86 due to prostate cancer. When my grandmother was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, our family had genetic testing done, where we discovered my mom and grandmother were BRCA II positive. With this news, I swim in Honor of my sister, Erin Hardifer, who is BRCA II positive and has completed a preventative double mastectomy. All of these family members are some of the strongest and bravest people I have had the honor of knowing and living with. I hope to shed a bit of light on their bravery and fight while enduring on this 4-mile swim.
My family, as many others, have had a tough battle with cancer. Every 15 minutes, 50 Americans are diagnosed with cancer. Even during a pandemic, people continue to hear the terrible words ‘you have cancer’.
I have joined the Swim Across America-Nantucket family so that I can continue to give cancer patients hope by raising funds to support on-island cancer treatment and patient care for all of those who are impacted.
Proceeds directly support Nantucket Cottage Hospital's oncology program which brings world-class oncology services to Nantucket, allowing patients to access much of their cancer care close to home, without the cost and stressful burden of off-island travel. Many of these cancer services are performed in the new state of the art Swim Across America Infusion Center. Similarly, SAA - Nantucket funding that supports Palliative and Supportive Care of Nantucket allows them to provide direct care and services on the island to patients and families who are coping with cancer, free of charge.
If you are able, please support me by making a donation to my personal fundraising page. Every bit helps and will make a huge impact on those fighting cancer.