First annual Rogel Cancer Center fundraiser goes swimmingly

July 18, 2019  //  FOUND IN: Michigan Medicine News,

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With more than $45,000 raised and 100+ participants, the first annual Swim Across America Motor City Mile charity swim was a rousing success! 

The event — which will benefit researchers and those who work on clinical trials at the Rogel Cancer Center — was held on Belle Isle, where participants were able to swim a special one-mile or five-kilometer course in the Detroit River.  

“This was a unique day for researchers, patients and caregivers to challenge themselves, come together and celebrate the importance of cancer research,” said Julie Brabbs, chief administrative officer for the Rogel Cancer Center. 

“We had swimmers of all ages and abilities, including cancer survivors, kids, adults and even two Olympians who attended U-M.”

An emotional day

Among the swimmers was Erin Christensen and Kristen Van Raaphorst. Christensen is an administrative assistant, while Van Raaphorst is a program administrator at the Rogel Cancer Center. They worked out together in the lead-up to the event.

“In the days before the swim, we were able to train together and share our thoughts and stories, which in itself was incredibly rewarding,” said Christensen.

But even more rewarding to Christensen was knowing who will benefit from the fundraiser.

“The day of the event was definitely an emotional one,” Christensen said. “Seeing the survivors there and other cancer experts, it was a day full of inspiration, pride, remembrance and, most importantly, hope.”

Moving ahead

Swim Across America is a nonprofit that hosts dozens of open-water and pool-based charity swims across the U.S.

The aim is to help raise money that funds clinical trials and cancer research.

This was the first year the organization hosted an event in the Detroit-area.

“This was a wonderful start to this new event; we’re thrilled that more than $45,000 has been raised to help our center,” said Brabbs. “But that’s all this was a start. We look forward to seeing even more swimmers, and even more funds raised, next year.”

Christensen agreed.

“I was overwhelmed by the support that I received from family, friends, colleagues and all the participants and volunteers the day of the event,” she said. “I look forward to swimming again in the years to come and to see the event grow and grow, so that more people can benefit from these incredible efforts.”

Did you miss the Motor City Mile? Don’t worry, check out the photo gallery above for a look back at the exciting day.

And you can still donate to the cause! Click here to learn more.

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