What returning Hamptons charity event managed to make a big splash during its inaugural summer last year? The Swim Across America “Hamptons Swim to Fight Cancer” in Amagansett, of course!
“We’re excited about having a great second year,” Gerry Oakes, Vice President of Swim Across America, Inc. (SAA), said. The event, which, in partnership with SAA, is hosted by the Town of East Hampton, along with the East Hampton Volunteer Ocean Rescue Squad (EHVORS), invites individuals of all swim levels to take part in a non-competitive, open-water swim to benefit cancer research, prevention and treatment.
Participants at the July 2 event have the option of swimming either a half-mile, one-mile, or three-mile course, depending upon their comfort level, across the picturesque Gardiner’s Bay. “It’s a family-oriented event,” Oakes explained, describing how participants last year ranged in age from 10 to 70. “We’re going to give them as much fun as possible, soaking wet.” In order to ensure that everyone enjoys their early-morning swim, EHVORS puts incredible safety measures in place to protect the swimmers,even patrolling the bay on jet skis.
In order to swim, participants are asked to raise a minimum of $500 prior to the event ($300 for those under 14), which is made easy via an online donation system. Everybody can establish a personalized webpage to pass on to friends and family, all of whom can then make an online donation with their credit cards. Last year’s Amagansett swim, the first Swim Across America event on the East End, successfully raised $120,000 for various organizations. Swimmers participated as individuals or as members of a team, with some groups swimming in honor of friends who lost their battle with cancer.
The primary beneficiary of the Saturday morning event is Fighting Chance, a Sag Harbor center that provides cancer support services to over 300 East End citizens every year. These services are available to patients completely free of charge, thanks to charitable donations like the one from the SAA event.
Swim Across America organizes similar swimming fundraisers across the country to benefit a variety of cancer support centers. Currently celebrating its 25th year, SAA has managed to raise $30 million over the past quarter of a century toward its ultimate goal of beating cancer. There are other SAA swims on Long Island throughout the rest of the year as well, such as the Sound to the Cove swim in August.
One of the most exciting developments in the field of cancer research took place earlier this year when the United States Food and Drug Administration approved a treatment for patients with advanced melanoma. The approved drug was developed in 1996 by James Allison, PhD, at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, which receives donations from SAA events like the upcoming one at Gardiner’s Bay. This drug utilizes the body’s own immune system to combat mutant cancer cells. Oakes explains that it is the first “immunotherapy drug approved in 20 years” to treat metastatic melanoma and proves effective in treating over 25% of the patients who use it. Such a significant discovery shows SAA participants that their efforts really do make a difference.
Everyone should come out to Gardiner’s Bay on July 2 for a wonderful start to the holiday weekend. Join the Town of East Hampton, the EHVORS and SAA as we go for a lovely swim—and help fund vital cancer research.
The “Hamptons Swim to Fight Cancer,” Saturday, July 2, 6 a.m-10 a.m., followed by an awards ceremony, at Gardiner’s Bay in Amagansett. Visit www.swimacrossamerica.org for more information, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. [/expand]