TAMPA, Fla. – Swim Across America (SAA) – Tampa Bay, the local chapter of a national nonprofit organization dedicated to raising money for cancer research, prevention and treatment through swimming-related events, will hold its fifth annual open-water fundraising swim benefitting Moffitt Cancer Center. Three-time Olympic champion Brooke Bennett will serve as honorary chair for the fifth year. The event will take place at 7:30 a.m. May 21 at Pier 60 on Clearwater Beach.
The event has raised $615,000 in the past four years for metastatic melanoma research and the Adolescent and Young Adult Cancer Program at Moffitt. Just last year SAA – Tampa Bay raised $175,711 for Moffitt, and the organization is devoted to exceeding that amount this year.
Swimmers of all ages and skill levels are welcome to participate as fundraisers in the half-mile, one-mile or the “Iron Man Distance” 2.4-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 are asked to raise a minimum of $500, and those younger than 18 pledge to raise $200. Swimmers participating in the “Iron Man Distance” 2.4-mile course are asked to raise $1,000. To register for the swim, visit SwimAcrossAmerica.org/TampaBay.
Pledges collected by swimmers, corporate sponsors and online donations will benefit Moffitt’s metastatic melanoma research led by Shari Pilon-Thomas, Ph.D., Immunology associate member, and Amod Sarnaik, M.D., Cutaneous Oncology associate member, as well as the Adolescent and Young Adult Cancer Program led by Damon Reed, M.D., Sarcoma Department associate member.
“With the money raised through Swim Across America in Tampa Bay, the Swim Across America Adolescent and Young Adult (AYA) Lounge opened its doors last year,” said Rob Shapiro, SAA event director. “Over the four years that we’ve had this swim, the money we’ve raised is now creating results. We are making an impact.”
Since Florida has one of the highest incidence rates of melanoma in the country, Moffitt is focused on pursuing and developing new therapies.
“We are grateful to Swim Across America for their ongoing support of our cutting-edge therapies for patients with metastatic melanoma,” Pilon-Thomas said. “We’ve treated 40 patients with advanced melanoma giving them a chance for cure, made possible by funding from Swim Across America.”
During the event, Moffitt researchers and cancer survivors will share their stories of hope in the fight against cancer at a celebration and awards ceremony. Moffitt researchers and staff will also discuss how the money raised will be used by their laboratories in the fight against cancer. Participants are encouraged to invite their friends and family. Follow the swim on Twitter at @SAATampaBay and on Facebook at Facebook.com/SwimAcrossAmerica.
If you are unable to swim or volunteer for the event, you can still make waves by donating to the Tampa Bay event or by sponsoring an individual or team. Click here to donate now.
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 dozens of events nationwide. In its 28 years, the organization has raised over $60 million, and continues to ensure that money raised locally, stays local so that all swimmers will know their impact. To learn more about Swim Across America - Tampa Bay, make a donation, or register to swim or volunteer, visit www.swimacrossamerica.org/TampaBay.
About Moffitt Cancer Center
Moffitt is dedicated to one lifesaving mission: to contribute to the prevention and cure of cancer. One of the three largest cancer centers in the United States based on patient volume, the Tampa-based facility is one of only 45 National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers, a distinction that recognizes Moffitt’s excellence in research, its contributions to clinical trials, prevention and cancer control. Moffitt is the top-ranked cancer hospital in Florida and has been listed in U.S. News & World Report as one of the “Best Hospitals” for cancer care since 1999. Moffitt devotes more than 2 million square feet to research and patient care. With more than 5,000 team members, Moffitt has an economic impact in the state of $1.9 billion. For more information, call 1-888-MOFFITT (1-888-663-3488), visit MOFFITT.org, and follow the Moffitt momentum on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.