Beginning on March 4th, nominated candidates have 10 weeks to raise as much money as possible to promote research, find cures, and give support to patients with blood cancer. The candidate who raises the most money “wins.” The competition then ends on May 17th with a Grand Finale Gala at the Hilton Torrey Pines.
Today there are more than a million people living with or in remission from leukemia, lymphoma, or myeloma. In spite of some improvements in treatment – due largely in part to the $875 million LLS has granted to researchers over the past 60+ years – someone in the U.S. dies from a blood cancer nearly every 10 minutes. In fact, leukemia is still the leading disease for childhood deaths and lymphoma is the leading fatal cancer of men under age 35.
While I would not be where I am today without your support of my English Channel swim, it’s really going to take the global community to cure blood cancer. I think we can.
Last week, during my trip to Vail, Colorado, I had the pleasure of sitting down with the Weez on KZYR the Zephyr and chatting about my swim across the English Channel for First Descents. Take a listen!
I’m incredibly excited to announce that I have recently been nominated Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Woman of the Year. Essentially, this means that I will be launching a fundraising campaign to support their research and programming. More details coming soon. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to help. The winner will be announced at a gala in May.
Today, I became a CHANNEL SWIMMER. Touching down at Cap-Gris-Nez in 11 hours 14 minutes, I also became the FIRST ITALIAN WOMAN to achieve this goal.
And I could not say this without thanking you, my friends and family, for the all of your support, prayers and kind words over the past few days.
Your messages were passed onto me via whiteboard amidst active shipping lanes, 12-18 mile an hour gusts, 1-2 meter swells, jellyfish, and a large opposing tidal current just outside the shores of France.
Tremendous thanks also goes out to Brian, my support crew – Sally, Simon, and Alice – and that of the Masterpiece, each an expert at your role, making such a feat possible and all the more enjoyable.
Now, for some rest. I will get back to everyone personally over the next few days, along with posting photo and video documentation of the adventure to my site. And please know, if you haven’t yet, it’s never too late to donate to First Descents: http://channeledin.com/posts/donate/
In one short week, I leave for England. It is a time of rest and final preparations. A time to give thanks for my many blessings and a time to reflect on the task ahead.
When I first committed to the Channel nearly two years ago, it was to pay it forward. To say thank you when I couldn’t say thank you enough. To Lauren, for being far more than a swim coach. To my family, who made sure I got where I needed to be. To my friends, who sat next to me in the hospital when I could not have been more ill.
And to give back. For all of the young adults with cancer who are still fighting for their lives. To let them know that someone is fighting for them. To give them the strength they may not have known they had and inspiration to defy their illness, from a place I have personally been and with a mere roll of the die could very well still be.
Brad Ludden, the founder/CEO of First Descents, says it best:
Along the way there are bound to be some trying times, and in those times I’ll pause to reflect on why I’m doing this. I’m doing it because there is 1 young adult diagnosed with cancer in the US every 8 minutes. Because their lives are forever changed by something they don’t deserve and did nothing to get. Because they need an adventure now more than ever. Because FD will provide that adventure to them free of charge. And, most importantly, because if I don’t, they’ll be left to face their cancer on their own, and that’s something that nobody should ever have to do.
Thank you for your support in this challenge. I truly couldn’t do this without you and hope you realize the impact your support has on my swim and the lives of my peers with cancer that I’m swimming for.
For my last long training swim before tapering in anticipation of the English Channel, I made a plan – together with the help of friends – to swim from Cardiff to Pacific Beach. My goal was to swim for 8 hours total, which together with the projected distance (18 miles), it would be my longest swim to date.