Saturday, July 28, 2012 Return to Marathon 2012 Main Page
How the SWIM helps cancer patients and their families (4-min. video)
I was diagnosed with breast cancer in Jannuary 2007. After losing my full-time job, I had to pay for insurance on my own, using my savings. After a while, my savings started to run out. I found out about St. Vincent’s SWIM Across the Sound and was able to receive financial assistance from them to help me with my insurance payments.
“As a first-time participant in the SWIM Across the Sound, I found the event really inspiring. You see and hear how the SWIM impacts the community through providing screenings and financial assistance to cancer survivors. It helps them deal with the challenges they’re faced with. The event brings everyone together. Many of us were strangers at first, but we all came together to fundraise and support the SWIM’s cause. “
“I’m a ten-year cancer survivor. I was diagnosed in 1998 shortly after my husband passed away. In 2001, I heard about the SWIM and decided to help out. I volunteered that year at the WICC Radiothon for the SWIM, and my involvement grew from there. Now, I volunteer at the Marathon, the Walk and with selling fish at Wal-Mart. The SWIM has really impressed me with the way they help with rides and medication and provide financial assistance to cancer patients. Many people come up to me when I’m selling fish and tell me they were helped by the SWIM.”
God Bless all those people involved with SWIM Across the Sound. In my own dark days of cancer treatment, the SWIM helped me with counseling and massages in the hospital to ease the results of chemo. On Sundays, a little brunch was provided so families could have a bite to eat together in a visiting room. To all who work in the forefront and behind the scenes to raise the money that helps those with cancer, a heartfelt "Thank you." You made my life a bit easier during a difficult time.
“The SWIM is a great event that allows me and the other participants to show support for family and friends who’ve been impacted by cancer. The SWIM provides comfort to people battling cancer who are less fortunate, and it helps people right here in our community, which is something that I’ve always felt really good about. It’s such a unique event, but we can pull it off here in Connecticut because we have such an enthusiastic boating community who volunteer and make the event possible. It helps me stay young at heart, and it’s a lot of fun for everyone involved.”
“My husband, Bob, and I are retired with four grandchildren. We’ve volunteered at pretty much every SWIM event over the years. Now we sell the paper fish at Wal-Mart and volunteer at the Circus for Children with Special Needs. We’ve come in contact with so many people who’ve been helped by the SWIM. It has a very positive effect on the community, especially because all the money the SWIM raises goes to helping people. They help people pay their bills when they’re battling cancer, so they have one less thing to worry about. The money doesn’t go to research, but to help people cope with the disease.”
“St. Vincent’s SWIM Across the Sound has allowed me to do something I am good at while raising funds for an amazing cause. My grandparents both suffered from cancer and the SWIM provided me with a perfect opportunity to honor them and help support those who are currently battling cancer. I was speaking to someone who happened to rent their apartment to a man with cancer who couldn’t find work. His rent was paid for by the SWIM. Along with cancer education, prevention and screening programs, the SWIM does amazing things ‘behind the scenes’ such as this.”
“I learned through volunteering for the SWIM how many people they help each day. There are so many people with no health insurance. For them screening for cancer is impossible, and they often receive the news too late. The SWIM prevents this from happening, however. They not only screen people for cancer but they also help individual cancer patients and their families by providing any assistance they need to get through their treatments.”
“Being involved with the SWIM has been an exciting part of my last two summers. I have always loved to swim, and the SWIM Across the Sound has been a great place to channel that love for a very worthwhile cause. My individual fundraising even became a family endeavor this past summer. The joy of being able to help others in some way has been immeasurable.” “Cancer is so pervasive in our society. Most people know someone with cancer, even if they do not have cancer themselves. Because of the efforts of so many people involved with the SWIM fundraising efforts, cancer patients and their families know they are not alone in their struggle. They are given hope and support by the loving and generous hearts of others.”
“I’ve met some great people through participating in the SWIM. When we’re out there swimming the day of the Marathon, there’s always this feeling that you’re carrying someone’s presence with you, that you’re a part of something larger. This past year, we swam in memory of Mary T. Lane, a friend of one of our teammates, who passed away from breast cancer. Every year, we select someone to honor or memorialize. Our team tries to keep the focus on the cause and the bonds we create by taking on the challenge together.” “It’s an impressive cause. The outpouring of support we receive from people is amazing, and we never have any trouble raising the money required to participate. Many of the people who have given me donations have had a family member or friend who was helped by the SWIM, and they always say that the wigs, the transportation and the other things the SWIM provides are incredible. From what I have heard from them, the money is really well spent, and it goes to people right here in our community. It’s a great organization, and I’m happy to support it.”
"I have participated in the SWIM for the past three years. The SWIM is a significant part of my life. The first year I did it for the love of swimming. I remember seeing the swimmers come into the harbor one year, and I said to myself, "I can do that.” I grew up swimming competitively. It was then that I realized I could swim for a cause. The first year I did the SWIM I cried when I crossed the finished line. It was overwhelming to see all the people looking down on you. I could see my family, and I saw my mom was crying. I was then escorted to the showers by a woman whose family was helped from the SWIM. She told me a little bit of her story, and I realized it was not about my accomplishment but it was truly about the cause. I think about that every year now, how it helps so many people. For the past two years I have swam because my boyfriend is a cancer survivor, and he struggled financially while going through treatments. He didn't know about St. Vincent’s SWIM Across the Sound at the time. It hits home even more now, and I swim for him and his survival. I know it would have impacted his life, so I know how much it must impact others lives.”
“I think this was my sixth year doing the SWIM. I was recruited for my first swim from a high school friend and wrestling teammate Scott Jefferies. My thanks and blessings go out to him for getting me involved. The SWIM is a great fundraiser, a great cause and a very good way to help people. I swim for my wonderful Mother-in-Law Stephanie Piquette who passed away from Pancreatic Cancer and is greatly missed by all.” “My team looks forward to the race each year. We are all ex-college athletes, and we are all tri-athletes or members of master swim teams. The SWIM provides the team with a training goal during the year, this coming year we hope to place in the top five, so watch out for the Slow, The Fast and The Ugly. On SWIM Day the ferry ride to Port Jefferson is a blast, you get to see many people that you have come to know. The only troublesome point is when you look down at the water and see all the Jelly fish that will be stinging you on the way back during the race. Not many race finishes can match the sight of Captains Cove and the people cheering. We are taken across the sound with a dedicated group of boat captains, along with the support of the St. Vincent’s Foundation staff, Kay Williams and his family. Without all of them this event would be impossible. One thing that is evident from the race is how many people are willing to help raise the money needed for St Vincent's and the SWIM’s great work in trying to help prevent, detect and treat cancer for their patients and support the people going through it.” "I think all of us in the SWIM have had somebody close to us suffer from cancer; it is a tough road for the patients. If the money we raise helps ease their worry over some bills that are due, or helps them pay for treatment or put a smile on their faces, it is all worth it. I plan on doing the SWIM for many years to come, that's the easy part...the patients are the ones with the tough race.”
“I've been doing the SWIM with a bunch of my "lane buddies" for more than four years now. We've been very lucky in winning two relay Marathons, finishing second twice and leading in some part of the race all but one year. The competition is a blast, and the event fosters a great camaraderie amongst the teams, as well as within the teams. I think the fact that we're doing something for the greater good gives us the feeling of purpose that makes the event much more than just fun. Both my parents were stricken with various forms of cancer, and as an only child, I saw the areas where traditional health care just isn't effective. And the SWIM helps thousands, in such a myriad of ways that go way beyond what the traditional healthcare systems can do. I think it’s very unique in that regard, and the community is so much the better for it. For me, the SWIM is a great way to "give back", both to my parents, who have passed, and the community at large. I'm doing something fun that helps others, and as a bonus, I meet new people and foster old friendships. It's a win-win-win.”
“I first got involved with the SWIM when some of my friends from the Fairfield YMCA and I participated in the SWIM Aquathon at Fairfield University. Someone at the event told us that the SWIM Marathon was going back to being an amateur event and we thought it was a good charity and a pretty decent challenge to take on. My father and my mother-in-law are both cancer survivors. I think everyone has been touched by it in some way. It’s given me a sense of giving back to the community and it’s nice to participate in an athletic event. I’ve met really nice people through the event, Dave Parcells, (the former SWIM Marathon Director, who passed away in 2007) in particular.” “The programs the SWIM provides really support the people of the community. It’s an invaluable resource to the people who receive the SWIM’s help. At this past year’s Marathon pre-event dinner, a woman spoke about her seven-year-old daughter who had passed away of a rare, terminal form of cancer. A few weeks before the girl passed away, the SWIM sent the whole family to Disney World, because it was what she had wanted. The SWIM doesn’t typically pay for things like that; they are more focused on rides, medication, wigs, and things like that, but hearing from someone who benefited from the fundraising we do reinforced the fact that we’re doing something good for the community.”
“I started swimming at the YMCA and I met someone who was participating in the SWIM Across the Sound and they needed another teammate, because someone had been injured and couldn’t do it. After that, I was hooked. I have three daughters and the two older ones know that I train for this event and that I fundraise for the SWIM, which helps cancer patients. They get really excited about it. It’s amazing how much money is raised every year and to see what they’re doing for the cancer patients, especially with the new cancer center that’s being built. Once you get involved, you realize how many people are helped by the SWIM. The money is really going to good use, and people want to give to the SWIM. It’s very exciting.” “The SWIM provides cancer patients with a lot of help, and it provides free cancer screenings to people without insurance, which is great, because healthcare is an issue for a lot of people.”
“I first became involved with the SWIM when my friend Bill Carroll was the Chairman back in 1995. He asked me to be the Chairwoman of the first SWIM Across the Sound Breast Cancer luncheon. From that moment forward I remained committed to the organization and all it's good work. As my commitment got deeper, I was able to reach out to many of my business contacts and get them involved with the SWIM, too. Curran Volkswagen, Lexus of Westport, The Bridgeport- Port Jefferson Steamship company and the Fitness Edge all generously jumped on board. It was wonderful to be able to get this synergy started!” “I have known many people who have been the beneficiary of programs and services provided by the SWIM. One dear friend lived just on Social Security and didn't have enough money for a nice wig, and the SWIM helped her. Another woman was struggling with breast cancer and the SWIM was able to help her with Christmas presents for her children. In addition, transportation was provided to another friend's family member who had difficulty getting back and forth from chemo treatments. Many of these issues can be so overwhelming to the person or family members who are trying to heal and deal with their disease, and the SWIM takes these extra burdens away.”
"I have always enjoyed a challenge. The thought of swimming from NY to CT challenges one both mentally and physically. I was fortunate to be able to swim the event with my oldest daughter. This year was her fourth year making the SWIM. I wasn’t getting any younger, and I knew once she graduated from college, she would be off starting another chapter in her life. So, I decided to make the SWIM with her this year. One of our other relay team members lost his daughter to cancer. I realized how precious and short life is. My heart went out to him, knowing he would never be able to experience the feeling I had that day." "My small contribution, along with the hundreds of others participating in the SWIM, will allow continued funding for cancer screening programs in our community and earlier detection for this most devastating disease. Hopefully, the impact made by the SWIM cancer prevention programs and cancer assistance programs will help improve and even save these precious lives."
"I volunteered for the SWIM Across the Sound for more than 10 years, and currently work on staff for St. Vincent’s Medical Center Foundation as the Director of Major Gifts helping to build the new SWIM Center for Cancer Care." "It is very rewarding to be able to help literally tens of thousands of people through our programs, screenings, support groups, and on an individual basis, with basic needs. Patients call our office regularly for help when they literally have no where else to turn, with often heart-breaking stories, and the SWIM makes a difference in their lives. A cancer diagnosis can be financially devastating whether the patient has insurance or not. Having seen what the SWIM accomplishes both as a volunteer and from the inside as a staff member, the SWIM has a tremendous impact on people in our community. The SWIM is there for cancer patients and their families on a case-by case basis to help them through incredibly trying times. Fortunately I’ve never needed the SWIM’s services, but thanks to the generosity of thousands of people in our community, it is comforting to know that these resources are there."