2023 Swim Across America: This is why I swim
In our lifetime, 1 in 2 men and 1 in 3 women will be diagnosed with cancer. Swim Across America (SAA) is an organization that funds cancer research which greatly assists with prevention and treatment.
I joined the SAA community so that, together, we can change that. I am challenging myself by swimming and raising as much money as I can to support the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Care Research Center at the Johns Hopkins Hospital. Please support me by sponsoring my swim and making a gift. The money you give will go towards cancer research, prevention, treatment, and will make an impact in the fight to find a cure. Over the years I have met recipients of the SAA research that resulted in a cure for them. Thank you for your generosity and may it lead to a cancer-free world!
In 2010 when the Swim Across America (SAA) came to Maryland I began swimming in memory of my sister, Chris, who had lost her brief (6 month) but grueling battle to lung cancer in 2006. I promised myself I would do all I could to raise money to help find a cure by participating in the SAA for a long as I could swim. After a couple years of the pool swim I decided to up my game, conquer a fear, and do the open water swim. In 2019 I was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma. In an effort to protect my immune system I moved back to the pool swim. It was challenging as I swam whilst undergoing two different chemo and steroid treatments. Fortunately, my sister Susan joined me in the pool swim to give me the added support I needed. The past couple of years, in the midst of the Covid pandemic, my brother, Mark kindly swam in a lane with me to protect me. All of my siblings have supported my swim. They truly are the best siblings!
I also like to honor those who continue to raise awareness after losing someone dear to them. I will again be swimming In memory of Claire Wagonshurst, who lost her battle at the age of 16 to Melanoma. Her legacy lives on as her family so courageously brings awareness and saves lives in her name. We should all #LiveLifeLikeClaire. Please visit the Claire Maria Foundation to learn more. Claire always accompanies me when I swim and when you see a coral sunrise or sunset know that Claire continues to shower us with love. For Claire, I swim!
And last but certainly not least each year I hold some dear ones in my heart as I swim that would rather not be mentioned. This year is not without exception. I am very grateful for some that have fully recovered and grieve for some I have lost. For them, I swim.
I am so late in signing up this year and have a long way to go to reach my goal. Please dig deep and donate. Cancer has unfortunately touched us all and needs to be cured. Thanks so much in advance for your generous donations!!
PS. Every year it seems I get updates, both good and bad news. This year is no different and unfortunately bad news. I will be swimming in memory of Mark Karpovich who lost his battle with Myelofibrosis. Mark had been treated for 7 years and after a successful bone marrow transplant in June, he was hospitalized in July due to an infection. Mark passed on 8/4/23 leaving his beautiful wife, Tina, and their 3 amazing children. I swam for Mark and Tina 7 years ago when they both were diagnosed with cancer. Tina remains cancer free. Rip Mark! In memory of Mark, I swim!
A few year back I swam for Candace Littleford as she battled breast cancer. She beat it however was diagnosed this year with Lung Cancer . Candace is again undergoing chemotherapy and radiation treatments. Keep up your gallant fight Candace! For Candace, swim!
You can make a credit card donation here, or send a check to Swim Across America, 11600 N. Community House Rd., Suite 100, Charlotte, NC 28277.
Check should be made out to Swim Across America but please include a note mentioning my name (Karen Spence; Baltimore Pool Swim) as the swimmer you are supporting!