Fundraise for SAA When You Make Affiliate Partner Purchases

Our generous Affiliate Partners support the Swim Across America mission year-round. When you make purchases through these stores and portals, SAA receives a percentage of each sale back. You can learn more about how each affiliate partner works below.

SwimOutlet.com/SAA

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Visit SAA’s updated official store at SwimOutlet.com/SAA to get your wetsuit, goggles and swimming gear. First-time customers get an extra 10% off – PLUS a portion of your sale from the official store is donated to Swim Across America.

AmazonSmile

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When first visiting AmazonSmile, customers are prompted to select a charitable organization from over one million eligible organizations. In order to browse or shop at AmazonSmile, customers must first select a charitable organization. For eligible purchases at AmazonSmile, the AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the purchase price to the customer’s selected charitable organization. Make sure you bookmark the AmazonSmile page as your homepage so all purchases are recorded to give back to Swim Across America!

PayPal Giving Fund

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  1. Search for the charity you would like to support, including Swim Across America! Your gift goes to PayPal Giving Fund, a 501(c)(3) public charity. PayPal covers all transaction fees.
  2. PayPal will deliver 100% of your donation to your chosen charity.
  3. PayPal Giving Fund will issue your donation receipt. PayPal will share your name and email with the charity you help, so they can thank you. Or you can remain anonymous if you choose.

Orca

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You can further support Orca and Swim Across America by using the code SAAPARTICIPANT15 at orca.com to save 15% on wetsuits, gear and more. Now through June 30th, all purchases with this code will result in 10% being donated back to Swim Across America!

Giving Assistant

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Members can choose to automatically donate any amount or percentage of their cash back to the charity of their choice.

1. Shop and Save – Get coupons and up to 2x cash back at 2,497 top brands.

  1. Raise Cash Back Donations – Opt-in to donate 1% to 100% of the cash back you earn to Swim Across America!

Humble Bundle

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Simply navigate to the Humble Store (video games) and then choose the “Charity” tab towards the top of the page. From there you can search and choose which charity you’d like to support through your Humble Store purchases. You can choose which charity you’d like to support, including Swim Across America, with the PayPal Giving Fund!

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Making Waves with Hope: “Survival Tips and Lessons Learned” by the Denton Family

Hope Header2Making Waves with Hope is a series of inspiring messages by leaders in the Swim Across America community during this uncertain time. The Denton Family helped bring Swim Across America to St. Louis. Walter and Kathy Denton have been married for 20 years and their daughters are Ally (17) and Jenna (14). Walter has been battling cancer since 2013 and Kathy is the Event Director of SAA-St. Louis.

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In 2013, the world as we knew it changed. We had a fear of the unknown and at times we felt overwhelmed, anxious or depressed. We were hypervigilant about germs and exposure to viruses. We lost our sense of safety, security and predictability. We were uncertain about the future.

This may sound similar to our current unprecedented times in our country as we face COVID-19; however, we are referring to our family’s battle with cancer. While we understand that the situations are different, there are many lessons our family learned during cancer that might be helpful as you navigate through this uncharted time.

Since Walter’s original diagnosis of undifferentiated pleomorphic sarcoma in 2013, he has spent more than 100 days in the hospital. This included chemo treatments, surgical procedures, multiple infections and a stem cell transplant due to chemo-induced myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS). During that time, we developed our own survival techniques and hope they might help as our world is faced with a pandemic.

Manage Your Expectations.

Walter Denton (cancer survivor & father): Living through a cancer diagnosis and treatments can be like a roller coaster: good news then bad news then uncertain news. Your health and future are only as certain your next CT scan or blood test. When will the journey end?

It is easier to cope if you manage expectations so that you will not be disappointed and demoralized with each setback. We were always convinced that we would get through this horrible experience, but it would not likely be tomorrow or next week. We understood early on my cancer diagnosis was a marathon, not a sprint. 

You Are Not Alone.

Kathy Denton (wife & mother): I will always remember the first time I visited the 7thfloor of Siteman Cancer Center in St. Louis. I had so many emotions going through my mind but as I looked at my husband, I kept thinking he looked so healthy and so many people around us looked so frail. When they called his name to take him back for vitals, I had to walk away and my emotions started to overflow. As I looked out the window, I became very angry that the whole world still seemed to be going on around us, yet we felt as if the world had stopped. I felt very alone and overwhelmed. Those thoughts faded quickly as I realized we were not alone. We soon met many people who were also dealing with a cancer diagnosis and an uncertain future. Additionally, our friends, family and church provided comfort and supported us in many ways. We were not alone.

Ally (teenage daughter): My friends’ families were so supportive. I would spend the night on a school night at a friend’s house, or they would take me to practice. My teammates and coaches supported me through it all. I’m not the biggest talker, but the people that were there for me, just there, really showed me that I do not have to feel alone in a time of uncertainty.

Develop a Routine, but Understand It May Not Work for Everyone.

Walter: During my stem cell transplant, I was scheduled to live in a hospital room for at least 30 days. That is the ultimate “shelter in place” in that my life was reduced to a 10 x 10 room and I had to wear a mask just to walk on the hospital floor.

I understood early on that I needed to build structure into my days:

  • I did yoga every morning, no matter how rotten I felt.
  • I read from a devotional book after breakfast to give me a spiritual foundation.
  • I read local and national news on my laptop every day to stay in touch with the outside world.
  • I stayed in touch with family and friends (by phone, email, and FaceTime) to strengthen my relationships and reinforce that I am not in this alone. 

Being isolated does not mean being alone. Enrich yourself and your relationships through intentional outreach to your family, friends, and environment. 

Kathy: While Walter maintained a daily schedule, I felt as if my life was always in chaos juggling a job, being a mom with two active kids, and also being a supportive wife and caregiver. One of my routines that changed the most was exercise. Before cancer, I woke up at 5 am every day and went to the gym. With two young kids at home, that was no longer an option but I also recognized I needed exercise for my own mental health. Over time, I purchased an Arc Trainer on Craig’s List and also bought weights, a workout bench and a trainer for my bike. While I didn’t enjoy working out at home as much as the gym, I did what I needed to do at the time. 

Listen to the Experts.

Kathy:  As soon as we learned of Walter’s suspicious mass, I immediately began consulting Dr. Google to find out what we might be dealing with. We quickly transitioned from “we don’t think this is cancer and if it is, it should be highly treatable” to … “this is highly aggressive and we need to start treatment right away.” In our situation, I felt like I was on a steep learning curve but quickly realized, while it is okay to get a second opinion, always look for reputable resources and trust those who have focused their career and education on our specific diagnosis.

Ally: My dad was diagnosed with cancer when I was in fifth grade, meaning I didn’t fully grasp all that was going on. I was scared that my dad wasn’t going to make it. My only experience with cancer was my dog, who had his leg amputated and died two days before my dad started chemo, and my grandpa, who was diagnosed with leukemia on Easter and died three weeks later. In this time, however, I had to listen to my parents (my experts) to understand the situation in itself. Without them, I could never have been able to see the truth of the situation.

Walter: There was a point in my treatment where there was no road map for what to do next. My doctors said that they had never treated anyone in my situation (sarcoma, stem cell transplant for MDS, sarcoma recurrence). So, we looked at the possibilities, weighed the probabilities, and went with the option that had the greatest chance for success. I wasn’t sure what I was getting into, but I am grateful for my doctor’s candor, courage and determination.

Acknowledge the Heroes.

Walter: I would not be alive without the efforts of countless people behind the scenes. First of all, I had incredible doctors and nurses who led me through my various surgeries, tests, and treatments. I also benefited from doctors who sponsored clinical trials that I participated in. I received blood and platelet transfusions from generous donors who are never recognized for their anonymous gifts.

Most importantly, I am alive because of the stem cells that were donated for my stem cell transplant. I will forever be indebted to my “brother from another mother” who shared his bone marrow when mine failed. I am living with his stem cells and immune system, and I am grateful for him and all of the other heroes.

Jenna (teenage daughter): There were many adults that helped us when my dad was in the hospital. I went to a friends house almost every day and they made sure I didn’t go hungry and also helped me with homework. I had many teachers that helped and they went above and beyond. Friends and our church brought our family food. We even had someone bring my dad home from the hospital in a snow storm. Adults really help each other when someone is going through tough times.  Really, my dad was my biggest hero because not only did he stay his silly self, he also beat the odds.

Continue to Celebrate Milestones.

Ally: My fifth grade year, I spent my birthday in the hospital so that I could be with my family. There is a picture of me in the hospital with an ice cream cake wearing a green Hollister shirt. I still have that shirt, and every time I wear it, I think of that time and how far we’ve come.

Denton Give Yourself Something to Look Forward To.

Kathy: Walter’s sister lived in Hawaii and our family was planning to visit them for Christmas 2013. Instead of going at Christmas, we scheduled a trip for when his treatments were supposed to be completed the following summer. We had no idea that he would have so many treatment delays and were grateful his doctor allowed us to travel in July, even though he still had his last round of treatments to go. Planning experiences became a coping mechanism for me (especially around scan time) because I needed something to look forward to!

Jenna: Always get insurance for everything you do. We cancelled lots of trips and experiences. It’s okay to be sad or mad but chill out and don’t stress. If something is cancelled now, it gives you something to look forward to later.

Joy is Contagious. Use Your Situation to Provide Hope to Others:

Ally: In the time we stayed at the hospital, my family became friends with nurses and doctors. Rainbow Loom was really in at this time, and I loved making bracelets, so I made rainbow loom bracelets for the nurses. I was able to give hope to those that see people in pain all day by making bracelets.

Walter: While we would not want to go through this again (or wish it on others), we have tried to use our experience to help others. I don’t feel like a hero, but people have expressed to me that they are inspired by my story. We have tried to pay it forward in numerous ways:

  • Developed the Swim Across America fundraiser for Siteman Cancer Center
  • Helped coordinate the Cure Sarcoma 6K fundraiser for the Siteman Cancer Center and Sarcoma Foundation
  • Helped coordinate a Be the Match donation drive for the bone marrow registry
  • Joined the American Cancer Society local board of directors
  • Presented to local civic groups
  • Purchased gas and parking cards for other cancer patients

Everyone Copes Differently, and That is Okay! It’s Also Okay to Ask for Help.

Kathy: At times, I held it together really well and at other times, I made some unhealthy choices. I barely slept. I drank too much. People drove me insane and I had no filters to help manage my emotions. One day I finally had a moment where I realized I needed help. I contacted the counseling office at our cancer center and met with someone twice before feeling like I was back in control of my emotions again. That reset helped me realize I needed outlets to express my emotions. I have a small group of prayer warriors who still lift our family up in prayer and I have a small group of friends from different times in my life who have become a huge support for me.

Walter: I was a swimmer in high school and college, and swimming was a lifeline during my cancer treatments. The pool provided continuity to my previous life and calmed my anxieties. Swim Across America was a perfect outlet for my energies where I could channel my love of swimming into a force for good by raising money for the Siteman Cancer Center in St. Louis.

Jenna: I try to look for and provide humor in all situations. I didn’t always like going to the hospital, but when I was there I was pretty much the comedy relief. I made up skits and made fun of my dad walking on crutches and I made everybody laugh. Making my family laugh helped me feel like I was contributing. 

You Will Be Changed After this Experience.

Kathy: I try to apply the Marie Kondo principles to my life. If something doesn’t bring me joy, I don’t want to be a part of it. This has allowed me to reprioritize what is important in my life and spend time with people and things that bring me joy. Quality time and experiences are important for our family and we try our best to make this a priority.

Walter: The things you think are important before a cancer diagnosis are not the same things that are important after a cancer diagnosis. The thought of dying from cancer clearly refines your priorities. While my job was (and is important), it is not more important than my family and the relationships I have cultivated over my lifetime. Would I see my children graduate from high school and college? Would I see them get married? Would I meet my grandchildren? Would I be able to retire and travel the world with my wife? These questions immediately generated much more gravity than before.

I have cherished my children’s sports and activities so much more now that I faced the possibility of missing them forever. We have made efforts to connect and visit our friends rather than assume we will get to it “sometime.” Facing mortality forces you to live in the moment and enjoy the present and not place your intention in a future that may not come.

We often reference our lives as “Before Cancer” and “After Cancer,” as our family profoundly changed. We live differently and perceive ourselves and the world differently through the lens of cancer. All of us will see the world differently through the lens of pre-COVID and post-COVID.

The Denton family will be leading the fundraising charge for Siteman Cancer Center at SAA-St. Louis again this year. You can read more on Walter’s story and donate should you choose on his personal fundraising page.

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Advice from Dr. Tara Kirk Sell, SAA Olympian Ambassador and Pandemic Policy Expert

In 2004, Dr. Tara Kirk Sell broke the world record in the 100 breaststroke (Short Course Meters) and earned a silver medal at the 2004 Olympics in Athens. When she’s not supporting Swim Across America-Baltimore as an Olympian Ambassador, Dr. Sell conducts, manages, and leads research projects to develop a greater understanding of potentially large-scale health events at Johns Hopkins.

Dr. Sell was an expert witness at a congressional committee hearing on COVID-19 in early March and Swim Across America was lucky enough to get her thoughts on our current position.

“I’ve been working on pandemic preparedness issues for the past decade and my Center, the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security has been on COVID-19 since the beginning,” said Dr. Sell. “My work has always focused on trying to improve our country’s preparedness for serious pandemics like COVID-19. I work on a range of different topics including public health communication, misinformation, crowd sourced disease forecasting, community resilience, and public health policy formation.”

When asked for her expert advice to the Swim Across America community, Dr. Sell provided this powerful message:

“I think the most important thing that people can do in their response to COVID-19 is right-size their understanding of the seriousness of the disease. On the one hand, it’s a serious problem. On the other, there’s no need to panic. We need to take thoughtful precautions like limiting unnecessary contact with others, having good hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette, and staying home when sick to manage the outbreak now and for the foreseeable future.”

“The SAA community is no stranger to the idea that we all need to join together and make shared sacrifices to protect the vulnerable. This pandemic is not different.”

Here’s video from Johns Hopkins featuring Dr. Sell in early March. For the most updated guidance on COVID-19, visit: https://www.coronavirus.gov/

Dr. Tara Kirk Sell is a Senior Scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Environmental Health and Engineering at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. 

SAA Partner Orca Announces Wetsuit to Be Awarded to Community Champion in Every City

OrcaIG copySAA Partner Orca is supporting Swim Across America in 2020 by rewarding a COMMUNITY CHAMPION in every city! The winner will be determined by selecting a participant that leads our community in recruiting, fundraising and creativity! The winner will be gifted a brand new TRN openwater wetsuit.

Remember to save 15% on any purchases at orca.com by using the code SAAPARTICIPANT15 at orca.com and all purchases with this code will result in 10% being donated back to SAA!

The Orca TRN wetsuit is the ideal choice for those athletes who are taking their first steps in the open water or triathlon world. This wetsuit provides a mixture of buoyancy and flexibility, keeping you comfortable and safe in your first competitions.

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

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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 $120,000 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

The Best of Swim Across America Olympians (2019)

We appreciate the support of all the Olympians and special guests who have donated their time to support the SAA cause in 2019. These Olympians have attended our swims and special events generating awareness and raising donations for our beneficiaries. Thanks for all you do for SAA!

SWIM ACROSS AMERICA – HOUSTON

Camille Adams, Ricky Berens

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SWIM ACROSS AMERICA – Fairfield County

Cristina Teuscher and Craig Beardsley

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SWIM ACROSS AMERICA – BOSTON

Eric Wunderlich, Alex Meyer and Janel Jorgensen McArdle

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SWIM ACROSS AMERICA – DETROIT

Peter Vanderkaay and Chris Thompson

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SWIM ACROSS AMERICA – CHARLESTON-KIAWAH

Hannah Aspden, Steve Gregg and Jenny Thompson

SWIM ACROSS AMERICA – CHICAGO

Tom Beeri, Dave Sims, Kat Simonovic and Sebastian Rousseau

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SAA – LONG ISLAND SOUND

Cristina Teuscher and Katie Meili

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SWIM ACROSS AMERICA – ST. LOUIS

Ryan Berube, Ryan Held and Mallory Comerford

 

SWIM ACROSS AMERICA – DENVER

      • Ashley Twichell,

    George DiCarlo, Haley Anderson, Kara Lynn Joyce, Lindsey Mintenko, Missy Franklin, Scott Usher, Susan von der Lippe

SWIM ACROSS AMERICA – NANTUCKET

Craig Beardsley

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SWIM ACROSS AMERICA – RHODE ISLAND

Elizabeth Beisel

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SWIM ACROSS AMERICA – SEATTLE

Nathan Adrian, Mary Wayte Bradburne, Emily Silver

SWIM ACROSS AMERICA – BALTIMORE

Theresa Andrews, McClain Hermes, Brenda Borgh Bartlett

SWIM ACROSS AMERICA – SAN FRANCISCO

Heather Petri, Dana Kirk, Ericka Lorenz, Kristy Kowal, Susan Heon-Preston, Staciana Stitts Winfield, Mike Bruner, John Moffet, Nicolle Payne,  Rada Owen, Ashley Whitney and Christine Magnuson

SWIM ACROSS AMERICA – CHARLOTTE

Lauren Perdue, Hannah Aspden, Karlee Bispo, Madison Kennedy

SWIM ACROSS AMERICA – ATLANTA

Missy Franklin, McClain Hermes, Steve Lundquist, Maritza Correia McClendon, Megan Neyer, Amanda Weir, Peter Wright, Nei-Kuan Chia,  Eric Wunderlich, Neil Versfeld, Andrew Gammell, Camille Adams, Paige Northcutt

SWIM ACROSS AMERICA – DALLAS

Ryan Berube, Andrea Hayes Dickson and Jim Montgomery

SWIM ACROSS AMERICA – SMAC OUT CANCER POOL SWIM

Susan Heon-Preston, Kristy Kowal and Mike Bruner

MICHAEL PHELPS & SWIM ACROSS AMERICA CHARITY SWIM

Michael Phelps, Allison Schmidt, Craig Beardsley, Bob Bowman

SWIM ACROSS AMERICA FAMILY TREE (OCTOBER 2019)

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.

 

Swim Across America

Learn how to Swim to Save a Life. This Charity Raised Nearly $100 million to Directly Fund Therapies to Defeat Cancer. A Conversation with Swim Across America’s Rob Butcher and Board Chair Pam Ryan from Goldman Sachs

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SAA – Richmond

  • SAA-Richmond Event Director Jay Peluso and Dr. Santiago Lima of VCU Massey Cancer Center promoted the swim on WTVR

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SAA – Atlanta

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SAA – Denver

  • Swim Across America CEO Rob Butcher and Team Captain Patty Waldron appeared on FOX 46

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SAA – San Francisco Bay

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SAA – Baltimore

  • With yearly swim, Mt. Hebron High junior raises money for cancer research at Magothy River event (Baltimore Sun)

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  • Dr. Jonathan Webster of Johns Hopkins and Patient Ambassador Vanessa Brandon promoted Swim Across America on Midday Maryland

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SAA – Dallas

  • North Texas Swimmers Raise Money for Local Cancer Research (NBC DFW)Screen Shot 2019-10-30 at 10.23.08 AM

 

  • Lake Ray Hubbard swim event helps raise money for cancer research (FOX 4 DFW)

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SAA – St. Louis

  • Swim Across America CEO Rob Butcher and champion swimmer Mallory Comerford promoted the upcoming swim on FOX 2!

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SAA – Catalina Relay Team

  • The six relay swimmers representing SAA crushed their 54-mile relay swim this September! It only took them 28 hours and they are now the 11th team EVER to complete this swim around Catalina Island! Not to mention they have raised over $60,000!

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SAA – Rhode Island

  • A Special Message on behalf of SAA -Rhode Island from Olympian Elizabeth Beisel and Providence College Coach John O’Neill

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Behind the Scenes: Swim Across America Times Square PSA with Clear Channel Outdoor

image1-6Background: Clear Channel Outdoor teamed up with Swim Across America for a #MakingWavesToFightCancer public service campaign that placed SAA digital messaging in eight markets including Times Square in New York City. The digital PSA promotes SAA charity swims in each market. 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 15-second ad cycles for 5 minutes every hour from July 15th – August 4th, 2019.

The two screens stand 100 feet tall combined  –  55′ H x 31′ W and 44′ H x 44′ W to precise on the dimensions. The location is adjacent to Duffy Square and the TKTS on Broadway between 46th and 47th Streets.

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Creative Team: Swim Across America Director of Marketing Ryan Baucom led the team project with the creative talents of brand designer Miriam Weiskind (mdoubleu) and Swim Across America Digital Media Intern Hannah Aspden.

FULL VIDEO

SAA FAMILY TREE (JULY 2019)

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 – Baltimore

SAA – Denver

SAA – Boston

SAA – Nantucket

  • Celebrate Our Impact event at Nantucket Cottage Hospital

    SAA – Fairfield County

    • Greenwich shows support for Swim Across America Fairfield County (Greenwich Time)

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Swim Across America Earns Coveted 4-Star Rating from Charity Navigator

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Transparency, accountability and financial health. Charity Navigator is a non-profit watchdog and has certified Swim Across America with 4-stars, the highest possible rating. We are thankful to all participants, volunteers, sponsors and donors for your ongoing trust and support of the Swim Across America mission. Learn more about how SAA received four stars here: http://bit.ly/SAACharityNavigator.

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