What started out as a swimming challenge among coworkers for a different event has now turned Lori Graham into a two-time finisher and fundraiser for Swim Across America. The Lake Washington open water swim event took place last Saturday, Sept. 12, with 277 swimmers and more than $250,000 raised for SCCA.
“It’s the most positive event!” Lori said.
Swimmers completed distances of a ½-mile, one, or two miles along the shores of Mercer Island with more than 90 volunteers helping out on land and water. There was also a 50-meter Kid’s Splash for the younger swimmers. With the sun making perhaps its last big appearance of the summer, it was a great morning to be outside.
Prior to participating in Swim Across America for the first time last year, Lori wasn’t too enthused about the fundraising aspect – until she realized where the money was going to.
“I didn’t want my money going to New York,” she joked, adding that she was supportive to donating locally to SCCA.
During an SCCA clinic and lab tour the day prior to the race, Lori and other Swim Across America participants and event organizers, including Olympians Craig Beardsley and Scott Goldblatt, were able to see first hand where their contributions go. Funds raised from Swim Across America continue to go directly toward SCCA’s Pancreas Cancer Specialty Clinic and the Swim Across America Cellular Therapy Lab.
There is currently no early detection for pancreatic cancer. Swim Across America directly helps SCCA researchers to better understand pancreas cancer through collection and analysis of pancreas tumors as well as supporting pilot research studies. And, the newly named Swim Across America Cellular Therapy Lab is responsible for all therapeautic cell processing at SCCA, which includes support for cell-based immunotherapy trials.
To date, Swim Across America has raised more than $1,000,000 for cancer research, prevention, and treatment at SCCA since the event started in 2009. Donations for this year’s event will be accepted until the end of September. It’s not too late to donate!