SAA CELEBRATES RECORD-BREAKING YEAR IN ORLANDO

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Members of the Swim Across America family came together in Orlando at Rosen Plaza for the Champions Against Cancer Summit this October 11-13.

Board Members, Event Directors, Olympians and Oncologists joined the national SAA staff to celebrate a record-breaking 2017 and the $3 million charitable contribution to SAA from Merck.

CHAMPIONS AGAINST CANCER WELCOME RECEPTION

See how many faces you recognize in this fun collection from the reception.

CHAMPIONS AGAINST CANCER SUMMIT

We were honored to have some of the country’s leading oncologists speak as well as plenty of SAA leaders. You can see some of the excitement from the Merck announcement in this album.

Thursday morning presenters included Dr. Taha Mexghoub (Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center), Dr. Paul DiSilvestro (Women & Infants Hospital), Dr. Jeff Borgia (Rush University Medical Center), Dr. Lynda Vrooman (Dana-Farber Cancer Institute)

The surprise Merck charitable contribution was celebrated by special Olympian guests Rowdy Gaines, Steve Lundquist, Janel Jorgensen McArdle, Heather Petri, Ryan Berube, Eric Wunderlich, George DiCarlo and Craig Beardsley

The afternoon session featured Dr. Carlos Becerra (Baylor Charles A. Sammons Cancer Center at Dallas), Polona Safaric (Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory), Dr. Julie Saba, (UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital San Francisco), Dr. Marc Symons (Feinstein Institute of North Shore) and Dr. Jonathan Gerber (Levine Cancer Institute of Carolinas Healthcare System).

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Friday presenters included Dr. Jim Garvin (New York-Presbyterian Columbia University Medical Center), Dr. Douglas K. Graham (Aflac Cancer & Blood Disorders Center of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Children and Emory University), Dr. Shari Pilon-Thomas (Moffitt Cancer Center), Dr. Damon Reed (Moffitt Cancer Center) and Dr. Richard Garlic (University of Texas MD Anderson Children’s Cancer Hospital).

SAA RECEIVES A $3 MILLION CHARITABLE CONTRIBUTION

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(L-R): Olympian Rowdy Gaines, Olympian Craig Beardsley, SAA CEO Rob Butcher, Olympian Heather Petri, Olympian Steve Lundquist, Olympian Janel Jorgensen McArdle, SAA Board Chair Hugh Curran, Olympian Ryan Berube, Merck Global PR Director Claire Mulhearn, Olympian Eric Wunderlich, Merck Oncology Marketing Director Jennifer Faikish, and Olympian George DiCarlo.
Merck announced at Swim Across America’s Champions Against Cancer that the company is making a $3 million charitable contribution to Swim Across America. Established 30 years ago, Swim Across America, a national nonprofit organization, was founded with the purpose of granting the proceeds from its benefit swims to fund cancer research and clinical trials.
“Every 15 minutes, 50 Americans are diagnosed with cancer,” commented Rob Butcher, CEO of Swim Across America. “The good news is that more Americans are becoming survivors than ever before, and Swim Across America’s commitment to finding new cures and treatments has been an important catalyst for that progress. We are going to apply Merck’s contribution to better support our existing benefit swims and add new ones with a goal of funding $100 million into cancer research and clinical trials in the next decade.”
“Merck is committed to advancing research and to giving more families hope in the fight against cancer, and we know that that progress can only come from many people and organizations doing their part,” said Jill DeSimone, Senior Vice President, U.S. Oncology at Merck. “Swim Across America has created a program that has inspired thousands of Americans, including many Merck employees, to participate in their benefit swims with the proceeds funding cancer research and clinical trials. We know this contribution will help them do even more to fight cancer.”
“I was at our first swim when we raised $5,000,” commented Craig Beardsley, a 1980 Olympian and Swim Across America supporter of 30 years. “The Swim Across America mission is a testimony to the human spirit of coming together to try to solve a problem that has affected nearly everyone. Merck’s contribution is going to allow us to speed up our ability to add more swims so we can fund even more research projects.”
Since its inception, Swim Across America has granted $70 million toward cancer research and its grant funding has played a major role in the development of four FDA-approved cancer treatments. More than 100 Olympians have donated their time attending Swim Across America benefit swims and hospital visits.
Swim Across America hosts benefit swims in Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Greenwich, Kiawah, Long Island, Nantucket, Rhode Island, San Francisco, Seattle, St. Louis and Tampa.
Tax-deductible donations to Swim Across America may be made online. Please phone 980-237-9127 or email Rob Butcher to discuss a bequest or naming Swim Across America in your estate planning.
Photo (L-R): Olympian Rowdy Gaines, Olympian Craig Beardsley, SAA CEO Rob Butcher, Olympian Heather Petri, Olympian Steve Lundquist, Olympian Janel McArdle, SAA Board Chair Hugh Curran, Olympian Ryan Berube, Merck Global PR Director Claire Mulhearn, Olympian Eric Wunderlich, Merck Oncology Marketing Director Jennifer Faikish, Olympian George DiCarlo.

SAA FAMILY TREE (2017 RECAP)

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.

SAA – Atlanta

SAA – Charlotte

  • Spectrum News had all the video highlights of the inaugural SAA-Charlotte featuring Levine Cancer Institute’s Dr. Jonathan Gerber and Queens University swimmer and cancer survivor Alex Marshall.
  • Patty Waldron and her team of Masters Swimmers go ‘out of the box’ to raise money for Levine Cancer Center.

SAA – San Francisco Bay Area

  • 3-year old Seth Lurie is battling rhabdomyosarcoma. Seth and his dad came to SAA – San Francisco and this is what he thinks of cancer.

SAA – Baltimore

  • Emma and Sammy Rocks of Team Rock On joined Wyatt Eberhart on Midday Maryland!

 

SAA – St. Louis

  • John Traube was the top fundraiser with over $26K raised for SAA – St. Louis. Find out why his story is such an inspiration to us at SAA!

SAA – Rhode Island

  • Olympian Elizabeth Beisel joined the Rhode Island swim this year and made a big splash with all the college swimmers and hospital patients alike!

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SAA – Dallas

SAA – Seattle

  • Another big splash for SAA – Seattle as featured by Seattle Cancer Care Alliance.

SWIM ACROSS AMERICA COMPLETES CATALINA CHANNEL DOUBLE CROSSING

Congrats to the 6 swimmers and support crew for the 9th double crossing since 1981 of the Catalina Channel. What an amazing feat! Here’s to the 2017 Swim Across America David Yudovin Memorial Relay in honor of cancer research. Thank you to all who encouraged and cheered along the way! Watch the video below and check out all the great pics!

VIDEO

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SAA EVENT DIRECTORS ARE AWE-INSPIRING

Each Swim Across America Event Director is inspiring in their own way. It’s incredible to see the hard work of a couple get widespread recognition this month. We can’t think of a better group to feature. Don’t forget to thank your local Event Director today and sign up to volunteer to help!

SUSAN HELMRICH – SAA – SAN FRANCISCO BAY

KITTY TETREAULT – SAA – BOSTON/SAA – RHODE ISLAND

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ARTICLE FROM MASSGENERAL HOSPITAL FOR CHILDREN

SAA Funding Contributes to FDA Approval of KEYTRUDA

For the first time, the FDA has approved a drug—KEYTRUDA—for cancer-based disease genetics rather than the site of a tumor. KEYTRUDA now can be used for colon, pancreatic, stomach, ovarian and other cancers if genetic testing reveals defects in so-called mismatch repair. The clinical trials for KEYTRUDA were conducted at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg-Kimmel Institute. The testimonial letter from Johns Hopkins acknowledges that in 2009, Swim Across America was the first organization to believe in the KEYTRUDA research project and provide grant funding for KEYTRUDA clinical trials. In total, over $2.6 million in proceeds from SAA—Baltimore have funded clinical trials and lifesaving research at Johns Hopkins.
Merck issued a press release quoting Swim Across America for providing grant funding for KEYTRUDA clinical trials that helped lead to FDA approval:
“Swim Across America’s mission is to help advance cancer research,” said Rob Butcher, CEO of Swim Across America. “We are honored that our organization supported some of the initial research conducted by Dr. Diaz and team, which has now contributed to the approval of KEYTRUDA for this new indication.”
As a Swim Across America supporter, it’s important you know the impact of our cause. Testimonials from our beneficiaries are published and we encourage you share them with your supporters.
 
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Dr. Luis Diaz at SAA – Baltimore Open Water Swim

SAA Debuts Under Armour WaveMaker gift for 2017

Swim Across America is excited to celebrate our 30th Anniversary with an Under Armour-branded 1/4 zip pullover for all WaveMakers that raise at least $1,000.

This is your chance to go the extra mile and join the exclusive WaveMaker club. You’ll get the chance to show your SAA pride year-round with this all-weather pullover. Register today and set your fundraising goal to WaveMaker!

Fundraisers that hit their WaveMaker goal will also receive a $30 Finis gift card in honor of our 30th Anniversary and a WaveMaker car window decal as well. This is the year to set your goals higher to WaveMaker status!

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