This #GivingTuesday, November 27, Swim Across America is asking you to show your love for SAA by participating in one of these four fun tasks! Remember to tag #SwimAcrossAmerica and #GivingTuesday in all your social media posts!
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.
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.
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.
SAA Family Tree is a monthly focus on stories that display the impact all the members of the Swim Across America family have both locally and nationally. If you have a story or link you’d like to share, please send here.
Event Director Brad Johnson promoted our 2nd annual swim on Kiawah Island Golf Resort.
Dan Benoit and Matt Jennings represented SAA – Seattle on KING5 News.
We appreciate the support of all the Olympians who have donated their time to support the SAA cause in 2018. These Olympians have attended our swims and special events generating awareness and raising donations for our beneficiaries. Thanks for all you do for SAA!
Charlie Houchin, Eric Wunderlich, Steve Lindquist
Doug Gjertsen, Erik Vendt, Klete Keller, Eric Wunderlich, Alex Meyer, Craig Beardsley and Janel Jorgensen McArdle
Charlie Houchin and Sebastian Rousseau
Ryan Berube, Ryan Held and Mark Gangloff
Missy Franklin, Elizabeth Beisel, George DiCarlo, Susan Bartholomew-Williams, Susan von der Lippe, Lindsay Benko Mintenko, Mike Mintenko, Andrew Gemmell, Heather Petri, Kara Lynn Joyce, Brickelle Bro, Mara Abbott, Klete Keller, Ashley Whitney, Katie Huff and Doug Gjertsen
Elizabeth Beisel, Craig Beardsley, Janel Jorgensen McArdle and Clara Walker
Heather Petri, Dana Kirk, Ericka Lorenz, Susan Heon-Preston, Cathy Carr West, Staciana Stitts Winfield, Mike Bruner, Jessica Steffens, Annika Dries, Mark Henderson, Rada Owen, Mike Kiedel, Brikelle Bro, and Christine Magnuson
Charlie Houchin, Lauren Perdue, Hannah Aspden, Marko Blazevski, Tharon Drake and Karlee Bispo
Missy Franklin, Geoff Gaberino, Doug Gjertsen, Bobby Hackett, McClain Hermes, Katie Hoff, Kara Lynn Joyce, Kristy Kowal, Steve Lundquist, Maritza Correia McClendon, Megan Neyer, Amanda Weir, Ashley Whitney, Peter Wright, Nei-Kuan Chia, Ramon Valle, Hali Flickinger and Shannon Vreeland.
Dana Vollmer, Ryan Berube, Charlie Houchin and Jim Montgomery
Susan Heon-Preston, Craig Beardsley and Mike Bruner
TEAM STACEY will be swimming together and fundraising for the 10th year in 2018 at SAA-Sound to Cove in memory of Stacey Rose Leondis. This year, TEAM STACEY will pass the $1 million fundraising mark as a team in addition to being the top overall fundraising team across the country in 2017.
According to family, Stacey was a beautiful, smart and exuberant young woman. Stacey was diagnosed with osteosarcoma when she was 16 years old and passed away at the young age of 23. During those seven years, she graduated high school, graduated Yale University and was accepted to Mount Sinai medical school.
Ellen Leondis, Stacey’s mother, on the impact SAA has had: “Being part of the SAA family has allowed us to continue Stacey’s fight for a cure and celebrate her inspirational life.”
Pam Danbusky, a Nassau-Suffolk Committee member shared her memory of Stacey and why she swims: “I swim for Stacey Rose. Someone I wanted to be like, someone younger who I looked up to, someone who I wish was still here. If we were all more like Stacey the world would be a better place. I swim to keep her legacy and beauty alive in this world.”
Swim Across America salutes TEAM STACEY for all their hard work fundraising in her memory and look forward to celebrating the next $1 million raised and the impact it will have! You can donate to TEAM STACEY today to help fight this dreaded disease.