Darien swim and dive teams to Swim Across America
This Saturday, the Darien High School Blue Wave swim and dive teams will be participating in the 12th annual Swim Across America Swim.
This is the second year the teams have joined the cause as a group to make waves in the fight against cancer together, but many of its swimmers have been involved for several years. The team is led by Darien High School teacher and coach Marjorie Trifone.
"This is the third year I am swimming in Swim Across America. This year I am challenging myself to swim threemiles in the Long Island Sound on June 23rd,” Kendall Luecke said. “I would like to help see the day where no one has to struggle with cancer. In our lifetime, one in two men and one in three women will be diagnosed with cancer. I joined the Swim Across America community so that, together, we can change that. I am challenging myself by swimming in the Greenwich-Stamford Open Water Swim and raising as much money to fight cancer as I can."
Co-team captain Cassandra Maroney is swimming the three-mile course in honor of her Grandpa, Jack Maroney, a skin cancer survivor and her Grandma, Nancy Tapley, a uterine cancer survivor.
Owen Brannigan is swimming for the fifth year in Swim Across America.
"I’m excited as ever to contribute to the push towards gene therapy research,” Brannigan said. “This year I will be joining the Darien High School girl swim team and wouldn't be surprised if I finished dead last after all of them. Regardless of my current poor swimming shape I am pumped to be back for another year of Swim Across America. This year I am swimming in honor of Kevin Cassidy who passed away on May 10th, 2017, after a long and tough fought battle against lung cancer. Mr. Cassidy was a great father, coach and friend to me and my family and I fondly remember our times on Shelter Island, the house basketball court and at St. Thomas Moore. In his memory I urge everyone reading this fundraising page to donate and support our team and Swim Across America. We're making waves to find a cure."
Swim Across America has some deep Darien roots. It was co-founded by Darien resident Matt Vossler and his lifelong friend and college roommate Jeff Keith in 1987. Today, Matt is in charge of safety at the swims and sits on the Board in the role as Governance chair. He will be at the June 23rd Greenwich-Stamford Swim.
In the past 12 years, the Swim Across America Greenwich-Stamford event has raised more than $3.4 million for crucial support of the Alliance for Cancer Gene Therapy (ACGT).
One hundred percent of all Swim Across America Greenwich-Stamford funds donated to ACGT go directly to support cancer cell and gene therapy research. The Swim has supported nine different scientists over the past 11 years.
This year’s swim will raise funds to support four ACGT scientists: Crystal Mackall, MD, of Stanford University School of Medicine, who is working on immunotherapy treatments for osteosarcoma; Samuel Katz, MD, PhD, at Yale University who is working on novel new immunotherapy treatments for blood cancers; Greg Delgoffe, PhD, of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, who is working on immune-based therapy and vaccines for melanoma; and Nori Kasahara, MD, PhD, of the University of Miami who is working on virotherapy for brain cancer.
Today, Swim Across America has raised more than $75 million in the fight against cancer. More than 120 Olympians support Swim Across America, including Michael Phelps, Craig Beardsley, Donna De Varona (a honorary Greenwich-Stamford co-chair), Rowdy Gaines, Janel Jorgensen McArdle (who grew up in Ridgefield, Connecticut), Bobby Hackett, Ryan Lochte, Glenn Mills, Christina Teuscher and many more.
Co-chairs of the annual Swim Across America Greenwich-Stamford swim are Michele Graham of Old Greenwich, whose 21 year-old daughter Nicole is currently undergoing treatment for relapsed leukemia, of which she was diagnosed when she was 16; and Lorrie Lorenz of Riverside, Connecticut, whose daughter Brooke has been close to seven years cancer-free from lymphoma. Both Nicole and Brooke graduated from Greenwich High School.
Honorary co-chairs of the Swim Across America Greenwich-Stamford event are Olympic Gold medalist Donna de Varona and her husband John Pinto, John and Cindy Sites, Mary Henry and Howard Rubin, Arlene and Reuben Mark, and Richards of Greenwich.
For those interested in participating in Saturday's Swim, visit http://www.swimacrossamerica.org/greenwich. It's never too late to donate, swim or volunteer. Pool swims and virtual swims are also available