When you go to a school with more than 40,000 students operating in the center of the Universe, such an opportunity is beyond one’s wildest dreams. It goes without saying how tremendously flattered and appreciative I am.
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!
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: https://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.
We took a medium-long swim in Ventucky on Saturday. Visitors and locals were out in abundance for Pirate Days and the Surf Rodeo, so we decided to start from the Fairgrounds and lap around at the Harbor. Quite a bit of chop, some currents, and no sun. Surfers were out in gloves and booties; all I had was a Jolyn two-piece. It was good day.
Then on Sunday, we cruised up to Goleta (Santa Barbara) for the Semana Nautica 6 mile event. There were 45-entrants, several I knew and others I was excited to meet, mostly from the Ventura/Laguna open water swimming circles. We would race from Goleta Park to Arroyo Burro Beach in a route that took us out deep as the coastline created a bay. Initially, it looked like a beautiful day. I was excited to swim roundtrip.
6 weeks, approx 250miles of swimming, and countless hours of preparation remain until I leave for England.
Thank you very much to everyone who has donated already. While Channel swims are costly ventures, it only takes $1000 to send a young adult cancer patient/survivor like me on an outdoor adventure with First Descents. Last year, I gave $2000 to Team FD. My goal is to at least match that this year, but I think we can do better.