35 Stories of Impact: Jill Roethke and Jim Pignato of SAA-Nantucket

Jill Roethke & Jim Pignato
Swim Across America – Nantucket

11 years with Swim Across America
Jill 51; Jim 41; Raised $3.4 with SAA-Nantucket as Event Directors

“As a result of the Swim Across America Nantucket event, patients now receive treatments and see world-class oncologists on-island at the Swim Across America Infusion Center, instead of having to travel to the mainland for these services.  It has been a game-changer for those facing cancer on Nantucket.”

The inaugural Swim Across America – Nantucket swim took place in 1991 but did not become an annual event until 2012 when Jill Roiethke and Jim Pignato became co-event directors. The two have helped the charity swim raise over $3.4 million to support on-island cancer treatment and patient care at Nantucket Cottage Hospital and Palliative and Supportive Care of Nantucket. The charity swim has been a game-changer for Nantucket residents as it brought cancer care directly to the island, where before patients had to travel to the mainland for treatment. 

Jim first got involved with Swim Across America in 1991 at a swim clinic run by SAA National. Jim’s mother is a 20+ year breast cancer survivor and he lost his father to a 5-year battle with colon cancer in 2013. Both Jill and Jim participated in the special 25th anniversary swim that brought Swim Across America back to Nantucket in 2012. Jill participated in the event in honor of her husband Steve, who had recently been diagnosed with Stage 3 melanoma. After that year, Jill and Jim decided they were ready to get more involved and approached National about making Swim Across America Nantucket an annual event. Ten years and $3.4 million later, the two have been instrumental in the cancer landscape on Nantucket Island. 

“As a result of the Swim Across America Nantucket event, patients now receive treatments and see world-class oncologists on-island at the Swim Across America Infusion Center, instead of having to travel to the mainland for these services.  It has been a game-changer for those facing cancer on Nantucket.” 

Swim Across America is celebrating 35 years of impact in 2022. SAA has raised $100 million since its inception in 1987 to support cancer research and clinical trials across the U.S. Please contact Jeni Howard at jhoward@jhowardpr.com for media inquiries.

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