SAA On the Scene – November 2018

As the 2018 Open Water season comes to an end, SAA National members have been at some great events around the country spreading the SAA mission. Check them out and contact us if you have an event you’d like to have featured!

Golden Goggles Award Ceremony (New York, NY – November 19, 2018)

Swim Across America’s own and Olympian Craig Beardsley represented SAA at the 2018 Golden Goggles Awards in New York. Craig along with 4-time Olympic Medalist Maya Dirado, presented the Coach of the Year Award!

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World Open Water Swimming Association Conference (San Francisco, CA – November 10, 2018)

SAA’s Director of Events Megan Melgaard and San Francisco Bay Swim Co-Event Director Susan Helmrich presented “Swimming for Good” and “Why I Swim” on behalf of Swim Across America at the WOWSA Conference held at the Olympic Club in San Francisco.

 

 

Santa Barbara Pool Swim (Santa Barbara, CA – November 4, 2018)

The inaugural “SB Swims for a Cure” pool swim was held at the Los Banos del Mar Pool in Santa Barbara, California. The event doubled their fundraising goal in just it’s first year, raising over $11,400! SAA’s own Megan Melgaard and Craig Beardsley were able to attend the event and give some pointers to the swimmers! If you’re interesting in starting a pool swim contact Craig Beardsley!

 

Swim Across America Elects 2019 Officers

Nov. 15 — Swim Across America held its annual Board of Directors meeting and has re-elected Jean Fufidio, Janel McArdle, Pam Ryan, Jack Salerno, Doug Towne and Burt Zweigenhaft to 2-year terms through the Fall 2020 annual board meeting.

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Board Members and SAA Staff at the 2018 Board Meeting

Hugh Curran was a college graduate when he and childhood friends ran across the United States to raise money for cancer research (the 1984-85 run was the inspiration to create a charity swim program that has become Swim Across America). Hugh has given unselfishly to SAA for over 30 years, including the past nine years as Board Chair. Believing the time is right for our next board leader, Hugh nominated and the board of directors unanimously elected Pam Ryan to be the chair. Pam previously served as the Secretary. Hugh was elected to be the Vice Chair and he will support Pam in the transition to the board leader. The board then elected Janel McArdle to be the Secretary and Bob Coakley was re-elected as Treasurer.

The board committee appointments are as follows:

  • Audit: Kevin Shine (Chair), Burt Zweigenhaft, Michael Agis (non-board special appointment)
  • Beneficiary: Dr. Evan Vosburgh (Chair), Janel McArdle, Rob Butcher, Amy Krakauer (staff)
  • Branding: Jack Salerno (Chair), Kimbery Wetty, Jean Fufidio, Ryan Baucom (staff)
  • Governance: Matt Vossler (Chair), Hugh Curran, Kevin Shine, Kimberly Wetty, Rob Butcher
  • Finance: Bob Coakley (Chair), Janel McArdle, Jamie Mannion, Jean Fufidio, Jedd Hall (non-board special appointment), Rich Thompkins (non-board special appointment), Rob Butcher, Amy Krakauer (staff)
  • Risk Management: Megan Melgaard (Chair), Matt Vossler, Doug Towne

Swim Across America holds two face-to-face board meetings each year; an annual meeting held at the conclusion of the charity swim season and a winter meeting held before the charity swim begins.

Swim Across America Honored at the Value-Based Cancer Care Summit

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Olympians Craig Beardsley, Rowdy Gaines and Steve Lundquist

The 8th annual Value Based Cancer Care Summit brought together more than 300 thought leaders in academic, government, pharmaceutical and biotech. Change and innovation are happening at a fast pace in the field of healthcare and especially oncology. The purpose of the two-day summit was to create an active dialogue among the stakeholders in oncology care that ultimately will improve the quality of patient care.

Swim Across America, which has granted over $80 million dollars into cancer research, clinical trials and prevention, was selected as the beneficiary for the summit. Several of the oncologists shared during panel discussions the importance of Swim Across America’s early stage grant funding and how SAA’s funding has helped lead to breakthroughs and FDA approvals of new immunotherapy treatments.

In a personal testimonial, Dr. Jedd Wolchok of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center eloquently shared that SAA grant funding has helpeIMG_0279.JPGd numerous young investigators move forward their research ideas, many of whom are immigrants and are the pioneers in immunotherapy and personalized medicine.

Olympian and SAA ambassador Rowdy Gaines attended the summit giving a keynote talk about the 1980 Olympic boycott and how he persevered against the odds to win three gold medals at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic games. Rowdy also shared how cancer has touched his life, losing his stepfather and sister to the disease.

The evening reception was attended by the Swim Across America Board of Directors, Olympians Steve Lundquist and Craig Beardsley, and the leaders from our SAA-Long Island Sound and SAA-Fairfield County charity swims. The reception was dedicated to Swim Across America as we shared stories from survivors, volunteers, and participants.

It was an honor for Swim Across America contributions to be recognized and it was meaningful to be part of these important discussions as we strengthened our relationships and lifted our goodwill.

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SAA Remembers Quinn the Leonberger

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It is with sadness that we inform you that the beloved Quinn the Leonberger passed shortly after the 2018 Dallas swim. Quinn and his handler Peggy Walker were participants and supporters of the Swim Across America – Dallas event from the beginning. Quinn not only attended each open water and pool swim, but he was also a magnet for the media which helped spread the word about the importance of phase 1 fundraising and the great work being done at the Swim Across America Innovative Clinical Trial Center at BaylorScott&White. He and Peggy were introduced to the swim through the Cancer Center where Quinn was a pet therapy dog. Both he and Peggy had been touched by cancer so their support and participation was only natural.  In total, Quinn raised $27,520 for the swim making him one of the event’s largest fundraisers.

His gentle spirit was a highlight for many survivors, participants and children who were usually not expecting to see a dog the size of Quinn but automatically smiled when they realize how gentle he was.

He was surrounded by his family, at home in his living room when he left. He will be deeply missed and we thank Peggy Walker for sharing him with the Swim Across America family.

 

 

MORE THAN 30 COLLEGES PARTICIPATED IN SWIM ACROSS AMERICA IN 2018

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Community service is one of the best ways for college swim programs to build team chemistry and goodwill with their university. In 2018, more than 30 college programs volunteered their time by participating in a Swim Across America charity swim.

Swim Across America’s slogan is #MakingWavesToFightCancer and it does so by hosting open water charity swims. Since it’s founding in 1987, SAAs charity swim program has granted over $80 million to its mission of funding cancer research and clinical trials.

“364 days a year we compete with each other,” said Providence College head coach John O’Neill at the Swim Across America—Rhode Island charity swim. “But today, we all wear the same swim cap. We’ve all been touched by cancer and we swim in honor of survivors and those we’ve lost so that others may have hope.” John was awarded the College Swim Coaches Association of America community service award in 2016 for his support of Swim Across America.

The college programs that participated and volunteered at an SAA charity swim include Assumption College, Boston University, Bryant University, Brown University, Cal Catawba College, College of Holy Cross, Colorado School of Mines, East Carolina University, Emory, Harvard, Johns Hopkins, Loyola University, Maryville University, McKendree University, Northeastern University, Penn State, Providence College, Queens University, Roger Williams University, Seattle University, SMU, St. Louis University, TCU, Truman State, Tufts University, University of California, University of Connecticut, University of Georgia, University of Idaho, University of Illinois-Chicago, University of Missouri, University of Missouri – St. Louis, University of North Texas, University of Texas, Ursuline College, Villanova and Wesleyan University.

The 2019 Swim Across America calendar will include charity swims in Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Charleston-Kiawah, Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Denver, Fairfield County (CT), Houston, Long Island, Nantucket, Nassau (NY), Richmond, Rhode Island, San Francisco, Seattle, St. Louis and Tampa.

Olympian Craig Beardsley heads up Swim Across America’s college program. He can be reached at craig@swimacrossamerica.org to learn more.

Swim Across America Impact: The 2018 Nobel Prize in Medicine

Since it’s founding in 1987, SAA charity swims have funded more than $75 million to cancer research. SAA grant researchers have developed multiple FDA approved immunotherapies, gene therapy and personalized therapy treatments. Swim Across America Impact highlights  where SAA grants have changed lives.

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The 2018 Nobel Prize in Medicine has been awarded to Dr. Jim Allison and Dr. Tasuku Honjo for their work in immunotherapy.  Swim Across America grants have played a role in the development of their research.

Dr. Jim Allison has been awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine for his breakthrough research that our immune system can fight cancer. The Swim Across America research lab at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center collaborated with Dr. Allison to focus its research and clinical trials to understand how immunotherapy treatments could be developed for patients. The research and our grant funding at Memorial Sloan is more important than ever to understand why some patients respond to immunotherapy and others

Dr. Tasuku Honjo was awarded the 2018 Nobel Prize in Medicine. His discovery helped pioneer a new type of cancer treatment called immunotherapy. With Dr. Honjo’s discovery, SAA beneficiary Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins was able to conduct a clinical trial funded by Swim Across America that helped lead to the FDA approval of Keytruda. Families are being given hope because of pioneering research and non-profits like Swim Across America that provide grant funding.

You can read more about the 2018 prize here.