SAA Debuts WaveMaker YETI Tumbler for 2021

Swim Across America is excited to celebrate our return to live events in 2021 with a Swim Across America WaveMaker gift of a 20 oz. YETI Tumbler with lid for participants and volunteers that raise $1,000 or more!

As part of the WaveMaker club, we want you to show your SAA pride year-round with a tumbler perfect for any weather. The YETI Rambler® 20 oz. is made from durable stainless steel with double-wall vacuum insulation to protect your hot or cold beverage at all costs. Like the entire Rambler Family, the 20 oz. Tumbler and its lid are dishwasher-safe for easy cleaning. While the magnet on the included MagSlider™ Lid adds an additional barrier of protection for keeping drinks contained and preventing heat or cold from escapingWant to take these awesome items home with you? Register today and set your fundraising goal to WaveMaker!

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11-Year Old Surprises Cancer Survivor Dad in a Special Way

11-Year-Old Owen Johnson wanted to give his dad a unique gift over the holidays. He decided to set up a GoFundMe fundraiser to raise money for MUSC Hollings Cancer Center in honor of his dad. Cancer survivor and SAA-Charleston-Kiawah Event Director Brad Johnson was both shocked and humbled to find out that Owen chose to do this on his own and had raised over $2,000 so far!

On the GoFundMe page Owen writes: “I am raising money for cancer research at Hollings Cancer Center because my dad had two types of cancer. One they still haven’t identified the type. I hope by raising money, it will help them figure out what that type of cancer was and enable them to learn how to better treat people with cancer.”

What started as a fundraiser idea over the holidays has now turned into a year long mission for Owen. He plans to keep fundraising and to participate in the 5th annual SAA-Charleston-Kiawah charity swim on August 15!

If you feel inclined to support Owen, you may do so here: www.swimacrossamerica.org/goto/owenjohnson!

Swim Across America Honors Teams in Times Square with Clear Channel Outdoor


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We appreciate the teams that have given so much heart and soul to supporting the Swim Across America cause that we are using our public service message with Clear Channel Outdoor to recognize them in Times Square. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you for #MakingWavesToFightCancer with us. And if you are inspired to help others, find a charity swim near you at swimacrossamerica.org. Thanks to the Clear Channel Outdoor team for supporting the Swim Across America mission on the largest scale! You can read about more about the partnership here.

Times Square Details: The 1-minute ad ran in February 2021. The two screens stand 100 feet tall combined  –  55′ H x 31′ W and 44′ H x 44′ W and the location was adjacent to Duffy Square and the TKTS on Broadway between 46th and 47th Streets.

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What’s in Your SAA My Way Swag Bag?

SAA My Way is our new virtual offering where you decide your activity and timeline to help us fight cancer. After you get registered with a $50 self-donation, we’ll send you an SAA Swag Bag to show off your spirit and set you up for #SAAMyWay success. (Note: this virtual participation type is for those that don’t plan on swimming at an SAA open water swim.)

Here’s what you can expect in the mail shortly after you register:

1. Swim Across America Shirt

Enjoy the softest tri-blend around with the popular Swim Across America shirt in the size you select at registration.

2. SAA My Way Toolkit

Learn everything you need to know about how to pick an activity or challenge and how to share and inspire to make sure your fundraising makes the biggest impact!

3. SAA VINYL CAR STICKER & BUTTON

Show your love on your car, laptop, backpack or jacket with the sticker and button we’ll be sending to help you spread the word about SAA!

SIGN UP FOR SAA MY WAY TODAY!

Will You Reach WaveMaker Status in 2021?

Swim Across America is excited to celebrate 35 years of impact and we want to see you hit WaveMaker status in 2021. WaveMakers commit to hitting a higher fundraising goal and bring that same energy to SAA events!

As part of the WaveMaker club, we want you to show your SAA pride year-round.  Register today and set your fundraising goal to WaveMaker!

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The Holidays Come Early With #GivingTuesday and Swim Across America

What better way to make someone feel special this holiday season than making a difference in the fight against cancer in their name and providing them with a special treat! Swim Across America is making it easy for you to do so this Giving Tuesday!

Here’s how it works:

1. MAKE A DONATION

Donate $100 or more by #GivingTuesday (deadline of December 1st). Select a friend or family member to honor with your gift.

2. We Send a HOLIDAY GIFT

Your friend receives a holiday gift filled with chocolates and a card letting them know of your thoughtful donation.

3. YOUR IMPACT

Your donation helps Swim Across America fund cancer research. Your friend will appreciate the goodwill of your gesture.

LIMITED SUPPLY  – ORDER NOW FOR HOLIDAYS!

Looking for a Role Model? Meet 17-Year Old Alyssa Corb

March 9th is a special day for Alyssa Corb. It’s the date of birth of her brother Michael. Tragically, Michael didn’t make it to his first birthday as he died from mixed lineage leukemia when he was a 9-months old. For the past 10-years, Alyssa has been registering for Swim Across America—Baltimore on March 9th. In her words, it’s the “perfect way to honor my brother.”

Brother JD, sister Sarah, mom Jenn and Alyssa. The family participates as Team Racing Against Cancer swimming each year in Swim Across America-Baltimore at High Tide Farm.

Alyssa entered her first Swim Across America–Baltimore charity swim when she was 8-years old swimming a mile with her mom Jennifer. She hasn’t missed a year since celebrating a decade of raising more than $140,000 for Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins.

Brother Michael and Alyssa.

Many of Alyssa’s friends from her club soccer and club swimming teams have been so inspired, that they have joined her in giving back. And now Alyssa participates in Swim Across America—Baltimore with her 13-year old brother JD and 10-year old sister Sarah. On her personal page, Alyssa shares stories and why she is so passionate about the cause.

Alyssa Corb at Swim Across America-Baltimore

Next summer, Alyssa graduates from Mt. Hebron High School in Maryland. While she hasn’t yet selected a college, she hopes to play soccer in college. As for what she might want to major, Alyssa says “I want to be a high school math teacher.”

“She will change the world” is an expression we use when we see someone with so much potential. It’s not an understatement to declare that Alyssa Corb has already made the world better and will continue to do so.

Alyssa swims to honor loved ones.

2020 Swim Across America Highlights: Douglas Whitlock Bicycles from Chicago to St. Louis

This year, when Swim Across America pivoted from open water swims to virtual challenges, people have been finding all kinds of fun and creative ways to support Swim Across America and cancer research in their community. We’re highlighting some of the best ‘Making Waves to Fight Cancer’ stories with Swim Across America in 2020!

Douglas Whitlock, Swim Across America – St. Louis participant and partner at Sandberg Phoenix, one of SAA-St. Louis’s official sponsors, took his SAA -Coast to Coast Challenge to whole new level by bicycling from Grant Park in Chicago all the way to The Gateway Arch in St. Louis – a bike ride that is over 300 miles! Not only did he complete the journey, he and his team raised over $13,000 for groundbreaking cancer research and clinical trials at Siteman Cancer Center along the way! Congratulations to Doug for finishing such a challenging journey and for inspiring us all.

Dynamic Father-Daughter Duo Swims Lake Tahoe for Cancer Research

This year, when Swim Across America pivoted from open water swims to virtual challenges, people have been finding all kinds of fun and creative ways to support Swim Across America and cancer research in their community. We’re highlighting some of the best ‘Making Waves to Fight Cancer’ stories with Swim Across America in 2020!

13-year old Swim Across America – San Francisco Junior Advisory Board member and Team Susan Survives participant Maya Merhige and her father, Chris Merhige set their sights on a big goal for their participation in the San Francisco #SAACoasttoCoast Challenge in order to raise funds for UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals! For their personal challenge this year, the dynamic father-daughter duo committed to swimming the true width of Lake Tahoe. For those of you that don’t know – that’s a 12-MILE swim!

True Width of Lake Tahoe 12-Mile Swim

The pair has raised over $5,700 to support cancer research and clinical trials at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals Oakland and San Francisco! We got the chance to catch up with them afterwards and ask them all about their Lake Tahoe swim experience – you can read about it and see some photos below!

What brought you to get involved with Swim Across America? (Maya) I have been swimming with one of the director’s of SAA-SF, Susan Helmrich, for about 6 years, and she introduced me to Swim Across America. Swim Across America is actually what led me to start open-water swimming in the San Francisco Bay. In 2017 and 2018, I did the short course swim with my mom and dad, and then in 2019 we all did the long course swim without wetsuits. Over these past three years, I have reached Wavemaker status, having raised over $10K in total.  Last year, I became part of the SAA-SF Junior Advisory Board. I know a lot of people that have been affected by cancer, and I have always been interested in both swimming and medicine so I was super interested in Swim Across America from the start. 

(Chris) I met Susan Helmrich in 2014 and first did SAA in 2016.  From the first day I swam with Susan she kicked my butt in the pool.  I learned about her experience with cancer and involvement with SAA a few months after meeting her and I was blown away.  Like almost everyone, I have known people who have been affected by cancer and I was amazed by Susan’s amazing spirit and resilience, even after beating cancer three times.  She invited me to join Team Susan Survives and since then the San Francisco Bay SAA has been a highlight every year.  While the swim itself is great, I find it so powerful to hear all the incredible stories from cancer survivors and folks affected by cancer in some form.  I am glad I can do something personally to contribute to the fight against cancer.

Why did you choose the Lake Tahoe swim as your personal challenge?
(Maya) My Dad and I had been talking about us both attempting a Tahoe True Width since last year.  We have spent a lot of time in Tahoe in the winters and summers, and it holds a special place in my heart.  It has always been this magical place for me.  We began training in the San Francisco Bay in March in preparation for our August swim.  When Covid hit and the Swim Across America challenge became virtual, we knew we needed to make our Tahoe swim the SAA challenge.  

What was your experience like participating in and completing that swim? (Maya) It was really amazing!  It was the most beautiful swim, starting with a 4am start with a full moon and beautiful stars above me.  Sunrise was glorious – and swimming in the clear water under the beautiful blue sky and bold clouds was incredible.  The best part was that I was expecting it to take me over 8 hours to complete the course, but I did it in 6 hours and 21 minutes!  There were hard moments where I felt I had to dig deep, but I just kept telling myself that they were nothing compared to the struggle cancer patients face.  I love the lake so much that I was back swimming and paddle boarding in it that afternoon.  

(Chris) I went two days after Maya.  At first I thought it would advantage me to go a couple days later, and in some ways it did.  I benefited by getting a feel for the feedings, the conditions, etc.  I also got to see how supported Maya was by her online swim family during the swim and how excited she was when she completed the swim.   It didn’t advantage me so much because with the swim now behind Maya, I had two extra days to have the jitters! Watching Maya swim for that long made me wonder what I had gotten myself into!   Could I complete this thing? So, when I was toes in at 4am, I was nervous but also excited.  It was one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences of my life.  The first thing I said when I got back to the boat to Maya was, “How did you make it look so easy?”  She crushed my time, but I was still happy.  I’m really grateful for having had the opportunity to do this with Maya.

If you feel inspired to donate to Maya or Chris, you may do so through their personal pages: Maya Merhige & Chris Merhige.

Maya and Chris want to thank Maya’s little sister, Lucy for her support during their training and the swims.  “She got dragged to many many training swims and had to listen to our swim talk for six months straight.

Photos from the Lake Tahoe Swim

2020 Swim Across America Highlights: Tyler Roethke and Grant Wentworth Swim the Vineyard Sound and Raise over $100,000

In 2020, Swim Across America transitioned from open water swims to fun and exciting virtual challenges in each city. We’re highlighting some of the best ‘Making Waves to Fight Cancer’ stories with Swim Across America this year!

On August 8th, 2020, Swim Across America Nantucket participants Tyler Roethke and Grant Wentworth took their personal challenge to a whole new level by swimming a 10K crossing of the Vineyard Sound! These two accomplished this challenging swim in just under 2 hours and together have raised over $100,000 to support Nantucket Cottage Hospital and Palliative & Supportive Care of Nantucket – simply AMAZING! Way to go Grant and Tyler! Check out these awesome shots captured by photographer Tom Olcott! If you’d like to support these two outstanding SAA swimmers you can do so by going to swimacrossamerica.org/goto/GrantWentworth & swimacrossamerica.org/goto/TylerRoethke.