"http://www.stamfordplus.com/stm/information/nws1/publish/News_1/index.shtml - News</head> : Health Published: Jul 10, 2009 - 7:57 PM

CT residents to Swim Across the Sound for cancer charity

By St. Vincent’s Medical Center

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Eager swimmers and cheering crowds will join together Saturday, August 1st for the 21st Annual St. Vincent’s SWIM Across the Sound fundraiser. More than 250 swimmers will launch off Danford’s Marina in Port Jefferson, NY at 8:30am, starting the 25 kilometer journey across the Long Island Sound to Captain’s Cove Marina in Bridgeport.

The solo swim field is closed with 16 solo swimmers, the most ever. Twenty-three teams of four to six swimmers have registered so far for the relay category and three teams have registered in the new two-person relay category.

The SWIM Marathon started in 1987, when a lone swimmer named Jeffrey Keith, who had lost part of his leg to cancer, swam across the Sound with friend Matthew Vossler and raised $5,000 for the cancer charity. Since then the Marathon has grown into a year-long series of events, which has raised millions, $2.65 million in 2008 alone. Sponsored by St. Vincent’s Medical Center Foundation, the SWIM raises funds to provide financial support and care for the needs that health insurance companies do not cover. The SWIM provides cancer screenings at low- or no-cost to the elderly, underserved and uninsured and helps cancer patients and their families through free support groups, wigs, prostheses, and financial assistance with medications, transportation, daycare, utilities, mortgages and more.

Each relay team is required to raise a minimum of $7,500, two-person relays are required to raise a minimum of $3,500 and solo swimmers a minimum of $1,500. The swimmers will start to cross the finish line around 12:30 p.m. Members of the public are invited to come down to Captain’s Cove to cheer them on. Nine CT residents will show their stuff as solo swimmers and four will swim as members of two-person relays.

Solo Swimmers from CT

1. New Canaan resident Bethamy Aronow, MD, age 43

Aronow is an OB/GYN at Norwalk Hospital. This is her 2nd year participating as a solo swimmer, but she swam in the SWIM Marathon as part of a relay team for five years. Reason for participating:

“Initially, it was the challenge of the swim, but after participating and learning about all the good the swim supports, now it is about both.”

2. Woodbridge resident Tom Kendall Coffey, MD, age 49

Coffey operates his own practice called Connecticut Ear, Nose, Throat Medical & Surgical Specialists in Trumbull. He swam solo in the SWIM Marathon once before, in 2005. He’s swimming in honor of Edith and Bill Rudolf. Reason for participating:

“I’m a member of the St. Vincent’s community.”

3. Naugatuck resident Krystal Daymonde, age 17

Daymonde is a lifeguard and swim instructor at the Naugatuck YMCA. She’s participated in the SWIM Marathon since 2003, but this is her second year participating as a solo swimmer. She’s swimming in honor of Mark Wilson, Sr., Marilyn Goldstone, Dave Parcells, Michelle Eaton, Peter Miterko and Lisa Young. Reason for participating: “I wanted to support the SWIM Across the Sound, because I have had family members and friends who have been affected by cancer.”

4. Branford resident Jacob Kennedy, age 29

Kennedy is a metal sculptor and the owner of Public Nation Design, a custom metal fabrication design firm in Branford. This is his first time participating in the SWIM Marathon. Reason for participating:

"I have always been into participating in sports for a cause. This cause is obviously a great reason to get in the water and try to raise some money."

5. Weston resident Robert Gary, age 38

Gary is a general contractor and the owner of Little Mountain’s Building Company in Weston. This is second time competing as a solo swimmer in the SWIM Marathon, but he participated three times as a relay swimmer.

"I've enjoyed the CT open water swimming tradition for years. The SWIM Marathon is the pinnacle of all the CT open water events. I am swimming in honor of my mother, Phyllis, who has beaten cancer for the third time this year. By the day of the SWIM Marathon she will have finished treatment. Her strength to overcome it is inspiring."

6. Fairfield resident Erin Kathleen Flynn, age 28

This is Flynn’s first time participating in the SWIM Marathon event. Reason for participating:

"I like the challenge of distance. Plus, I've been swimming with Liz Fry and others who have completed marathon swims, and I'm ready to step up and join them in the world of marathon swimming."

7. Fairfield resident Robert O’Boyle, age 42

O’Boyle is a vice president of sales at Advent Software, headquartered in San Francisco, CA. This is his third time participating in the SWIM Marathon. He’s swimming in honor of Grace DiDomenico.

Reason for participating:

"I want to help support cancer patients and their families with their expenses."

8. Fairfield resident Sean O’Connor, age 49

O’Connor is a sales consultant for DiGiorgi Roofing and Siding in Beacon Falls. He participated as crew for a solo swimmer in 2007. He’s swimming in honor of all those affected by cancer. Reason for participating:

"Everyone has been touched by cancer. My father passed away in 1969 from testicular cancer. At the time the mortality rate was 95%. Now the cure rate is 95%."

9. Simsbury resident Marty McMahon, age 46

McMahon is a financial advisor with Edward Jones in Windsor. This is his second year participating in the SWIM Marathon. Reason for participating:

"On a charitable level, the SWIM Across the Sound is a great organization with an admirable goal. On a personal level, I have attempted to swim the Sound twice. One failure physically, one resignation because of weather. I want to get across! My immediate family has not been touched by cancer, but I have friends and co-workers who have been. I am glad to do my part to help!"

Two Person Relays from CT

10. Ansonia resident Greg Kohut, age 52, Two-Person Relay Team: Puddle Jumpers

Kohut is a fitness a manufacturing engineer at Sikorsky Aircraft in Stratford. He also participated in the SWIM Marathon in 2007 as a member of relay team “The Slow, the Fast & the Ugly.” Reason for participating:

"I started to participate in SWIM Across the Sound events in 2005, I like to help the charity, because everyone knows someone who's been affected by cancer."

11. Ansonia resident, Matthew Anderson, age 40, Two-Person Relay Team: Puddle Jumpers

Anderson is a fitness trainer at the YMCA in Ansonia. This is his first time swimming in the SWIM Marathon. He’s swimming in honor of Joseph Stupac. Reason for participating:

"I enjoy endurance athletics. I have done two Iron Triathalons, six and a half Iron Tri's, and one 150 mile, 7 day stage race. I am Red Cross Lifeguard Certified and a USMC Water Safety Survival Instructor.”

12. Fairfield resident, Andy Davis, age 46, Two-Person Relay Team: Team Davis

Davis is an executive recruiter for Smith Hawley Associates of Fairfield. This is his third time participating as a solo swimmer, but he’s also participated three times as a relay swimmer.

He’s swimming in honor of Thomas Brennan. Reason for participating:

"I have a desire to use swimming as a vehicle to support a worthy cause. My enthusiasm for this year's event is heightened by the opportunity to participate as a Two-Man Relay with my son.”

13. Fairfield resident, Gannon Davis, age 14, Two-Person Relay Team: Team Davis

Davis is a member of the Water Rat swim team at the Westport Weston YMCA.

He’s swimming in honor of Thomas Brennan. Reason for participating:

"I was inspired by my father and his many years doing the SWIM both solo and on relays. The opportunity to raise money for cancer patients is exciting to me.”

SWIM Marathon Director

Westport resident Elizabeth Ann Fry, the volunteer SWIM Marathon director, is an accomplished open-water swimmer. Fry's most notable swims have included a successful solo crossing of the English Channel in 2003 and Catalina Island Channel in 2005. Last August, Fry attempted a double-crossing of the English Channel, but was forced to pull herself on her return leg, when an asthma attack wouldn’t allow her to continue.

A strategy consultant for mergers and acquisitions, Fry feels a lot of passion about supporting the SWIM Across the Sound. Cancer touched her when her mother passed away from the disease more than a decade ago. Fry takes her role as Marathon director very seriously, volunteering for other swimming events, keeping informed of competitive and motivational strategies and talking with swimmers about what will keep them coming back year after year. “This is the first year we’re offering the two-person relay category. We had a few requests for it last year, and we thought it was a great addition to the event,” Fry said. “Cancer is so prevalent, and I want to help in any way I can. This is a great event, and the swimmers work so hard fundraising for the SWIM; they’re amazing.”

For more information about St. Vincent’s SWIM Marathon, call St. Vincent’s Foundation at (203) 576-5451 or visit www.swimacrossthesound.org. If you would like to donate to a swimmer visit the SWIM website, click on 2009 SWIM Marathon and select Support a Swimmer from the left-hand menu.

About St. Vincent’s SWIM Across the Sound

St. Vincent’s SWIM Across the Sound is a charitable, grass roots organization run by St. Vincent’s Medical Center Foundation. For 21 years, the SWIM has had a unique niche, providing cancer education, screening and prevention programs at low- or no-cost for the elderly and underserved. In addition, the SWIM helps individual cancer patients on a case-by-case basis with specific needs, such as the funding of wigs and prostheses, medication assistance, free transportation to treatments and appointments, day-care scholarships, support groups and more. The charity raises funds through events such as the SWIM Marathon, Breast Cancer Luncheon, Walk/Run for Cancer and Prostate Cancer Celebrity Dinner. Wherever possible, the SWIM covers costs and expenses of events through corporate sponsorships, and staffing overhead is covered by the St. Vincent’s Medical Center Foundation. The SWIM’s main area of reach is eastern Fairfield County, but outreach programs extend to other areas of Connecticut with the SWIM’s Hartford Chapter and annual fund raisers for New Haven County, as well as support for Connecticut’s first responders and correction officers with cancer. The SWIM’s Teen SmokeStoppers program has reached 120,000 children throughout the entire state to date. The SWIM raised $2.65 million in the 2008 fiscal year and helps more than 20,000 people annually. For more information, contact the St. Vincent’s Medical Center Foundation at (203) 576-5451 or visit www.swimacrossthesound.org

About St. Vincent’s Medical Center

St. Vincent’s Medical Center in Bridgeport, CT is a 473-bed community teaching and referral hospital with a Level II trauma center and a 76-bed inpatient psychiatric facility in Westport. St. Vincent’s provides a full range of inpatient and outpatient services with regional centers of excellence in cardiology, surgery, cancer care, orthopedics, diagnostics, women’s and family services, behavioral health, senior health and an array of specialized services.

St. Vincent’s Medical Center is a subsidiary of St. Vincent’s Health Services, which include St. Vincent’s Behavioral Health Services, Westport Campus, St. Vincent’s College, St. Vincent’s Special Needs Services, St. Vincent’s Medical Center Foundation and St. Vincent’s Immediate Health Care Centers. It is a member of Ascension Health, the nation's largest Catholic healthcare system. St. Vincent's is a teaching affiliate of the University of Connecticut School of Medicine and of New York Medical College. The Medical Center is also sponsor of Swim Across the Sound, one of the nation’s largest hospital-based cancer prevention and patient support programs. For referral to a St. Vincent’s physician or about programs and services, call the toll-free Care Line at 1-877-255-SVHS (7847) or visit www.stvincents.org.

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