Calling all swimmers, boaters, kayakers and stand-up paddle boarders (SUPs)! The 17th annual Swim Across America Fairfield County open water swim is #makingwaves to #fightcancer and will be held Saturday, June 24, 2023. The swim takes place in Stamford in the waters of Long Island Sound at the headquarters of the Swim’s local beneficiary, Alliance for Cancer Gene Therapy. There are three different swim distances available: a half-mile, one-and-a-half mile and a three mile swim. Boaters, kayakers, paddle boarders and land volunteers participate as well in this inspirational event with close to 200 swimmers and 150 volunteers. To register as a swimmer or a volunteer, visit swimacrossamerica.org/fc.
Why does Swim Across America Fairfield County swim to raise money in the fight against cancer? Cancer sadly touches everyone — whether it is a loved one or a friend, everyone knows someone who has been impacted by cancer. In 2023, it is estimated that 1.9 million new cases of cancer will be diagnosed and there will be 609,820 cancer deaths in the U.S. These staggering statistics offer compelling proof of the need to continue devising new approaches to treatment. In fact, there are more than 18 million Americans with a history of invasive cancer who are alive today, who were diagnosed many years ago or now have no current evidence of the disease, thanks to new treatments. Whether it is through swimming, volunteering, donating or cheering on loved ones and friends, Swim Across America Fairfield County welcomes anyone and everyone who wants to be a part of the fight against cancer.
“The Swim Across America Fairfield County open water swim is such an inspiring event,” said Cristy Fraser, co-event director of the open water swim. “The gathering of so many families and so many individuals who are honoring those who are special to them is incredible — whether they are currently battling it out, or survivors or have lost someone. To hear the stories and to learn about those whom cancer has touched and to experience that love is just palpable. The feeling of wanting to make a change and to do something for those who have experienced cancer is huge.”
Cristy is the mother of Julian Fraser, a 2014 Greenwich High School graduate and All-American swimmer and water polo player, who sadly passed away in 2017 after a short battle with osteosarcoma. Team Julian, which is one of the largest teams that participates in the Swim Across America Fairfield County swim, participate in Julian’s memory.
"I wasn't a swimmer when I first joined Swim Across America Fairfield County, noted Nancy Carr, co-event director. "But I quickly realized after my friend Cristy Fraser's son was diagnosed with cancer, that I could contribute in many other ways. If you would like to participate but swimming isn’t your thing, we have a lot of other ways to get involved: you can be a land volunteer, boater, kayaker or stand-up paddle boarder. We also have pool swims, fun adult water polo inner tube matches, a Sip & Shop event, or you can even swim or do your own activity to inspire your friends and family to donate. Donations are also always welcome."
Swim Across America is a national organization and offers open water and pool swims in 24 communities, from Boston Harbor to under the Golden Gate Bridge, but its roots are firmly anchored along the shores of Connecticut. Darien, Connecticut, resident Matt Vossler and his lifelong friend and college roommate Jeff Keith founded Swim Across America in 1987 with the first swimming event in Long Island Sound. Throughout its 36 years, Swim Across America has raised more than $100 million in the fight against cancer. More than 150 Olympians support Swim Across America, including Michael Phelps, Craig Beardsley (who was inducted into the International Swimmer’s Hall of Fame in 2022), Donna De Varona (a Greenwich resident and honorary Fairfield County co-chair), Rowdy Gaines, Janel Jorgensen McArdle (who grew up in Ridgefield, Connecticut), Bobby Hackett, Ryan Lochte, Glenn Mills, Cristina Teuscher (who participates in the Fairfield County event) and many more.
Swim Across America’s funding of clinical trials on a national level has helped contribute to four FDA approved life-saving immunotherapy cancer treatments: Yervoy, Opdivo, Tecentriq and Keytruda. Just last summer, the very exciting news about a clinical trial at Memorial Sloan Kettering was published in The New England Journal of Medicine that showed a 100 percent success rate in treating patients in a phase 2 clinical trial for advanced rectal cancer with dostarlimab, an immunotherapy treatment produced by GlaxoSmithKline. The clinical trial at Memorial Sloan Kettering was funded by early-stage grant funding from Swim Across America.
To learn more about Swim Across America Fairfield County or to register to swim, volunteer or donate, visit swimacrossamerica.org/fc.