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.

Swim Across America Awards a Record $6 Million in Grants to Fight Cancer for 2020

48138357962_e6a8679aa6_k (1)

In 1987, an inaugural charity swim was hosted across Long Island Sound that raised $5,000 for cancer research. Since then, Swim Across America charity swims have granted nearly $100M that has funded innovative cancer research and clinical trials. Swim Across America grants have played a major role in the development of immunotherapy, detection, gene therapy and personalized medicine. The impact is that families who hear “you have cancer” are more than ever hearing “there is hope.”

In 2020, Swim Across America will be awarding a record $6 million in cancer research grants that will fund more than 50 projects and programs at the following beneficiaries: Alliance for Cancer Gene Therapy (Connecticut), Baylor Scott & White Sammons Cancer Center (Dallas), Cancer Support Team (Westchester, NY), RUSH University Medical Center (Chicago), Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (New York), Columbia University Medical Center (New York), Dana- Farber Cancer Institute (Boston), Feinstein Institute for Medical Research (New York), Medical University of South Carolina Hollings Cancer Center (Charleston), Johns Hopkins Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center (Baltimore), Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital (Tampa), Atrium Health Levine Cancer Institute (Charlotte), MassGeneral Hospital for Children (Boston), MD Anderson Cancer Center (Houston), Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (New York), Moffitt Cancer Center (Tampa), Nantucket Cottage Hospital, Palliative and Support Care of Nantucket, Siteman Cancer Center (St. Louis), Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, UC Benioff Children’s Hospitals (San Francisco and Oakland), Children’s Hospital Colorado (Denver), University of Michigan Rogel Cancer Center (Detroit), VCU Massey Cancer Center (Richmond) and Women and Infants Hospital (Rhode Island).

In addition to these grants that are being funded by Swim Across America charity swims within their community, Swim Across America is awarding $110,000 in grants to the Conquer Cancer Foundation (American Society of Clinical Oncology—ASCO) and the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) that will fund young investigators who have promising ideas to fight cancer.

For more information, please visit swimacrossamerica.org

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.

safe_image (2)

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.

 

 

Swim Across America Posts 2018 Schedule

Swim Across America is excited to announce  its 2018 open water schedule. After a record-setting 2017 that saw $4.8 million granted to cancer research, SAA will be expanding to 18 full-scale open water charity swims. Denver and Richmond join the fold as new swims and Charleston-Kiawah will expand from its original clinic/short-distance concept. Check out the schedule below, register and help SAA #makewaves to fight cancer in 2018! Direct link is here.

Screen Shot 2018-01-08 at 10.55.48 PMScreen Shot 2018-01-08 at 10.56.18 PM

The Stars Align at SMAC OUT CANCER 2017

The San Mateo SMAC Out Cancer pool swim hit new heights in 2017 with $85,000 and going raised to fund pediatric cancer research at UC San Francisco.

The event featured a swim with Olympians, a run with Olympians, a yoga class with Olympians and Dancing with Louis van Amstel of “Dancing with the Stars.”

Check out all the fun and join in 2018!

Screen Shot 2017-05-15 at 10.48.54 AM

SAA – Tampa Hits $1 Million Donated to Moffitt Cancer Center

Unsafe ocean conditions moved SAA – Tampa to the indoor pool. The event still made waves for Moffitt Cancer Center and raise over $200,000 to fight cancer and hit the $1 million cumulative fundraising mark.

Enjoy video from the event below and thanks to all participants, volunteers and donors for helping achieve such an impressive total! See everyone at Clearwater Beach in 2018!

25 Years of SAA – Long Island Sound History

2017 will mark SAA – Long Island Sound’s 25th year raising money to fight cancer through research, as well as provide for those who are going through treatment. We give thanks to all of you who have partnered with us throughout the years to make this event such a success. Below is a compilation of all historical photos, videos and flyers. We hope you’ll join us again this year to celebrate our 25th Anniversary. All historical photo albums can be found here.

2009:

2010:

2011:

2012:

2013:

2014:

2015:

2016:

 

liscollage2

2017 Captain’s Dinner Kickoff

Hard SAA Work Pays Off at Beneficiary Check Presentations

Swim Across America celebrated the end of the year across the country by presenting checks to our esteemed beneficiaries. Here is a collection of smiling faces as the hard fundraising work is now seeing its impact multiplied in the fight against cancer.

14715486_10153999229471176_6832604995219048039_o
SAA – Tampa at Moffitt Cancer Center

15493732_1809136315994674_651158775955003935_o
SAA – Dallas at Baylor Charles A. Sammons Cancer Center

saa-check-presentation-dec-22-2017
SAA – Nantucket at Nantucket Cottage Hospital and Palliative and Support Care of Nantucket

15590254_10210628819253314_8483254570832790763_n
SAA – Seattle at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance

15995272_10154076568091176_631550043631371425_o
SAA – Baltimore at The Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins

 

Top Questions For… Top San Francisco Fundraiser Steve Barbour

steve barbour steve barbour 2

This weekend, the SAA family will take to the waters in the San Francisco Bay for our final swim. The annual swim is set to raise over $450,000 to benefit the UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital and Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute!

Steve Barbour joined the SAA – SF family in 2011, and took no time to get his feet wet (pun intended). He has been one of the top fundraisers for the swim in each of his three years participating, and those who know him can attest to the warmth he exudes, even if the Bay is chilly! We caught up with him to chat about his tribute team, the secret to successful fundraising and the taking a dip under the Golden Gate.

  1. Tell us a little about who or why you’ve gotten involved with SAA.

I started swimming 3 years ago to get back in shape and help manage stress. I happen to swim at the same facility as Susan Helmrich, who is a co-chair of the SF swim, and she invited me to join her team. Seemed like a good idea at the time.

  1. Are you a natural swimmer? Why choose a distance swim instead of a run or bike?

I’m not a natural swimmer although my younger brother Dave was competitive and a Laguna Beach lifeguard for many years. At first I thought I could train my way up to be competitive with him although he is 10 years my junior… big mistake! But now we can distance swim together, although he has to hold back and swim at maybe 65%. He did the event last year and it was great. Then we swam Alcatraz the next morning!

  1. Tell us about your team and the people swimming with you.

I swim on Team Susan Survives. It’s a fairly large group, as Susan knows everyone. You can’t help but be inspired by how she has managed her challenges (3 time survivor).

  1. You’re a top fundraiser for the San Francisco swim! What’s your secret?

I’ve been very fortunate in my career. I’ve worked at a large company for many years (Nestlé), and my wife and I have moved with the Company a number of times so we have a fairly large number of friends, both in and outside the company, that are happy to help out. The real secret is starting early, say early June, and following up occasionally, as often times the first or second email is just lost as people are so busy. It does take time… but it is obviously worth it! I also think I have an easier time because this is the only event that I ask for support from my family, friends and contacts.

  1. Would you rather: swim 3 miles on a sunny day or 1 mile with a shark tailing you?

I’ll take the 3 miles every time!!!

  1. How have you been touched by cancer?

We lost my Uncle Les way too early from brain cancer… he was only 55. And a friend and co-worker for over 25 years lost his son, David Stroud, to cancer. That was very tragic.

  1. What do you remember from your first SAA swim that keeps you coming back?

That was the year David Stroud passed away… just before the event…the kid was unbelievably tough, and I still get emotional when I think about it.

  1. What makes the SAA – San Francisco swim so unique?

With all due respect to Chicago, New York, and the other locations, you can’t beat swimming from under the Golden Gate into Crissy Field! The views and the location cannot be beat. It is iconic!!!

  1. What makes Swim Across America special?

I have really enjoyed all the people I have come into contact with in the SAA organization as well as the local event leaders. It is also important that SAA does a good job managing their cost structure so that the bulk of the funds raised go to the intended purpose.  And obviously, I enjoy swimming in the Bay.

  1. What is your favorite time of day to swim? Why?

I like to swim early… I used to hit the water at 6:30 AM, but now that I am retired, I start an hour later, and spend more time in the whirlpool! It’s a great way to start the day!

Welcome!

Welcome to the NEW Swim Across America blog!

From the very first dollar we raised to reaching the $50 million dollar mark this year, money raised local has always stayed local at Swim Across America. SAA swimmers know the impact they are making in the fight against cancer, and with that motto we’ve grown from a single beach swim to dozens across the US.

With that in mind, we’re insanely excited to launch this platform to keep you in the loop as we team up in the fight against cancer together. Our blog will bring to life the best of SAA, including olympian and swimmer interviews, #swimmerproblems, photo updates on events and things you never would have known about SAA otherwise. We welcome your feedback and hope you and the entire SAA family enjoy what we share. Comments are always welcome.

In our lifetime, 1 in 2 men and 1 in 3 women will get cancer. We’re in the business of changing that. Stay involved with us in the water, on land, or online by leaving us comments and feedback, and together, we can Make Waves to Fight Cancer!

Love,

Janel Jorgensen McArdle
SAA President & CEO

Janel