I've heard of all kinds of fundraisers before. Classic bake sales, traditional dodgeball tournaments, even prom is a fundraiser for the junior class. However, I've never heard about swimming for charity.
You see, a couple of days ago, I was talking to my friend's family. They were telling me about this man Ray Gandy. He's a swimmer from Coventry who's pretty familiar with these charity swims. For every mile he swims, someone has donated money towards his cause, Leukemia and Lymphoma. All money will be donated to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS). Gandy and another open-water marathoner, Elaine Howley, have raised over $10,000 dollars so far. Pretty incredible isn't it?
The swim itself is 50+ miles, starting at Chelo's in Warwick and following the upper and lower Naragansett Bay and back. EG resident, and also my friend's father, Joe Decesare told me, "It's 25 to 30 hours of swimming without touching a boat." He and his daughter, Caroline DeCesare, will be on the boat monitoring the swimmers' progress. The whole thing will be streamed live, starting bright and early at 9am. You can check it out at www.5050swimchallenge.com.
When you think about it, it's pretty mind-blowing. I mean, as a runner, I always thought I was tough. Who else willingly runs 5 miles in below-freezing weather? But 50 miles? I can't even imagine it. The water will be painfully cold, people will be watching your every move, and all you can do is keep going. They're not even going to be getting paid or anything. Both swimmers are doing this for someone one else, some future cancer patient who will be able to live a long and healthy life. Now that's dedication.
So while I'll be stuck washing cars for a fundraiser (July 16th, Ronzio's Pizza parking lot, come please!), Ray Gandy and Elaine Howley will be "going the extra mile" for LLS. Good luck to them both!
Swim Jack's Mannequin