Despite the threat of thunderstorms, the Alliance for Cancer Gene Therapy took to the rocky shores of Long Island Sound for its 12th annual Swim Across America event. More than 300 swimmers and 100 land volunteers, boaters and kayakers eagerly gathered on an early Saturday morning to take to the waves and raise money for life-changing cancer gene therapy research. Co-chaired by Old Greenwich and Riverside residents Michele Graham, whose daughter Nicole is currently undergoing treatment for relapsed leukemia, and Lorrie Lorenz, whose daughter Brooke has been cancer-free from lymphoma for almost seven years, this event struck a chord in the community as swimmers rallied to raise money in teams honoring friends and family faced with the reality of cancer treatment.
Swim Across America is a national organization founded by Darien resident Matt Vossler and his college roommate Jeff Keith in 1987. All profits from this year’s Greenwich-Stamford event went towards supporting four grants with scientists working on immunotherapy treatments for osteosarcoma, novel new immunotherapy treatments for blood cancers, immune-based therapy and vaccines for melanoma and virotherapy for brain cancer. The swim raised $385,000, with team Julian raising over a third of total profits at nearly $147,000. Swim Across America has raised a cumulative $3.7 million in the past twelve years for the Alliance for Cancer Gene Therapy thanks to the continual devotion of the swimmers, volunteers, and community donors.