By Bob Forgrave
By any measure, this August saw the most successful ever Swim for Life across Lake Washington. From swimmers and kayakers, we had 357 participants who raised $50,000 to fund the testing of 500 additions to the national Be The Match Marrow Registry. We had more teams than ever (80, many with hilarious names), five teams that raised more than $1,000 each, and a finish line overflowing with energy, enthusiasm and music from our own DJ. Is that cool or what? As I look back on the event, three emotions come to mind:
The first emotion is heartfelt thanks for the many who made this possible. Thanks to Scott Leopold for starting the idea of the swim, and thanks to Madeline Froning, Kristina Minear and the crew at Puget Sound Blood Center for personally embracing this swim and connecting it with the resources that only PSBC can offer. Thank you to the volunteers who worked very late and very early to ensure that this event went smoothly. Thanks to Alan Schulkin, who worked behind the scenes to raise many thousands of dollars for the cause. Thanks to Pam Gray and Rochelle Alhadeff at Chat with Women Radio Show for discussing the swim with us, to Christie Johnson of King 5 News for actually jumping in the water with us and to the 357 participants who made this a year to remember, in spite of the weather.
The second emotion is a renewed since of purpose thanks to the number 500. Who will those 500 new bone marrow registrants be now that their testing is paid? Whose lives will they save? After the college roommate of one of my team members was suddenly diagnosed with leukemia, bone marrow became more personally relevant than ever. I know who one registrant will be. I signed up two weeks ago, and all it took was swabbing my cheek and filling out a three-page form. The only painful part was filling out that form! Only 499 other prepaid slots left…
The third and final emotion is the excitement that comes from fine-tuning a well-running engine. The swim was this good this year because we did a post-mortem last year and tweaked it. We’ll be doing that again soon for next year, seeing if we can top even this year’s Swim for Life across Lake Washington. If you want to help make the swim even better, drop me a note and we’ll discuss it!