Swim Across America is more than a swim, it is a cause. Every 15 minutes, 50 Americans are diagnosed with cancer. In 2018 alone, it is estimated that 1,735,350 new cases of cancer will be diagnosed and there will be 609,640 cancer deaths in the U.S. This staggering statistic offers compelling proof of the need to continue devising new approaches to treatment. Whether it is through swimming, volunteering, donating or cheering on loved ones, Swim Across America welcomes anyone and everyone who wants to be a part of the fight against cancer.
In the past 12 years, the Swim Across America Greenwich-Stamford event has raised more than $3.4 million for crucial support of the Alliance for Cancer Gene Therapy (ACGT) based in Stamford, Connecticut. One hundred percent of all Swim Across America Greenwich-Stamford funds donated to ACGT go directly to support cancer cell and gene therapy research. The Swim has supported nine different scientists over the past 11 years. This year’s Swim will raise funds to support four ACGT scientists: Crystal Mackall, MD, of Stanford University School of Medicine, who is working on immunotherapy treatments for osteosarcoma; Samuel Katz, MD, PhD, at Yale University who is working on novel new immunotherapy treatments for blood cancers; Greg Delgoffe, PhD, of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, who is working on immune-based therapy and vaccines for melanoma; and Nori Kasahara, MD, PhD, of the University of Miami who is working on virotherapy for brain cancer.
While Swim Across America is a national organization and offers 18 open water swims from Boston Harbor to under the Golden Gate Bridge, its roots are firmly anchored in Connecticut and along the shores of Long Island Sound. Darien, Connecticut, resident Matt Vossler and his lifelong friend and college roommate Jeff Keith founded Swim Across America in 1987.
Today, Swim Across America has raised more than $75 million in the fight against cancer. More than 120 Olympians support Swim Across America, including Michael Phelps, Craig Beardsley, Donna De Varona (a honorary Greenwich-Stamford co-chair), Rowdy Gaines, Janel Jorgensen McArdle (who grew up in Ridgefield, Connecticut), Bobby Hackett, Ryan Lochte, Glenn Mills, Christina Teuscher and many more.
Co-chairs of the annual Swim Across America Greenwich-Stamford swim are Michele Graham of Old Greenwich, whose 21 year-old daughter Nicole is currently undergoing treatment for relapsed leukemia, of which she was diagnosed when she was 16; and Lorrie Lorenz of Riverside, Connecticut, whose daughter Brooke has been close to seven years cancer-free from lymphoma. Both Nicole and Brooke graduated from Greenwich High School.
Honorary co-chairs of the Swim Across America Greenwich-Stamford event are Olympic Gold medalist Donna de Varona and her husband John Pinto, John and Cindy Sites, Mary Henry and Howard Rubin, Arlene and Reuben Mark, and Richards of Greenwich.
In Connecticut, the annual Swim Across America event is an open water swim offering a half-mile, 1.5-mile and 3-mile options. For those that aren’t able to swim or volunteer but want to help, tax-deductible donations can be made online at swimacrossamerica.org/greenwich.
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