Moffitt Cancer Center Teams Up with Swim Across America to Fight Cancer

January 27, 2012

TAMPA, Fla. — Swim Across America, the national nonprofit organization dedicated to raising money for cancer research, prevention and treatment through swimming-related events, will hold its first open-water fundraising swim in Florida, and funds will benefit Moffitt Cancer Center. The event will include former Olympians Brooke Bennett, honorary chair, and Janel Jorgensen, and will take place at 8:30 a.m. May 5 on Clearwater Beach’s Pier 60.

Swimmers of all ages and skill levels are welcome to participate as fundraisers in the one-mile or half-mile course. They can swim as individuals or as part of a team in honor of friends and loved ones who have fought, or are fighting, cancer.  Participants 18 and older pledge to raise a minimum of $500, and those younger than 18 pledge to raise $250. Pledges collected by the swimmers, corporate sponsors and online donations will benefitmetastatic melanoma research led by Shari Pilon-Thomas, Ph.D., at Moffitt.

“Florida has one of the highest incidence rates of melanoma in the country, and new therapies are desperately needed for the treatment of metastatic melanoma. Moffitt Cancer Center is a leader in offering novel therapies for patients who have no other treatment options,” Pilon-Thomas said. “Funding from Swim Across America would support a clinical trial combining multiple cutting-edge strategies to use the immune system to fight metastatic melanoma. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to partner with Swim Across America in Moffitt’s mission to contribute to the prevention and cure of cancer.”

After the swims, there will be a celebration and awards ceremony. Moffitt researchers and staff will discuss how the money raised will be used by their laboratories in the fight against cancer. SAA hopes that members of the Tampa Bay community will participate to help find a cure.

“Swim Across America Organization is excited about this opportunity to come to the Tampa Bay area,” Jorgensen said. “Tampa Bay athletes are among the most committed and philanthropic in the country and our greatest hope is that, through our swim, we can inspire people to act in the service of cancer research. This event brings us one step closer to a cure for cancer, and that’s what motivates us.”

Jim Sirignano, a volunteer member of Swim Across America Tampa Bay Chapter, began swimming in the Long Island Sound-to-Cove event in 2003 because his sister and brother were cancer survivors and his brother was just diagnosed with cancer for the second time. 

“The swim event is an incredibly rewarding experience knowing the money being raised goes directly to fund the research for a cure to cancer,” Sirignano said. “In addition, the swim itself is a challenging event that requires mental and physical preparation.  The feeling you have coming out of the water after the swim and being cheered on by hundreds of people knowing the reasons why you did it is one feeling you will never forget.”

About Swim Across America

Swim Across America, Inc., is a national, nonprofit organization dedicated to raising money and awareness for cancer research, prevention and treatment through swimming-related events. With the help of thousands of volunteers nationwide and past and current Olympians, SAA is helping to find a cure for cancer through athleticism, community outreach and direct service. Since its inception in 1987, SAA has gone from a single swim in Nantucket, MA, to hosting swims in over 26 states annually. In its 25 years the organization has raised over $40 million. To learn more about the Swim Across America/Tampa Bay, make a donation, or register to swim or volunteer, visit

About Moffitt Cancer Center

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Located in Tampa, Moffitt Cancer Center is the only Florida-based National Cancer Institute Comprehensive Cancer Center, a designation that recognizes Moffitt’s excellence in research and contributions to clinical trials, prevention and cancer control. Moffitt has 14 affiliates in Florida, one in Georgia, one in Pennsylvania and two in Puerto Rico. Moffitt is also a member of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, a prestigious alliance of the country’s leading cancer centers, and is listed in U.S. News & World Report as one of “America’s Best Hospitals” for cancer.