Arriving early at Kingsland Point Park for the swim, I got my first look at the river we'd be slipping into off a dock in Nyack in a couple hours. It was not a very encouraging sight, white caps on the water. Wind, 14 mph, gusting to 20 out of the NW, was the culprit. A good day for sailing we joked. Glad I opted for the wetsuit. The water was expected to be about 77F, but the wetsuit would help with buoyancy if conditions were bad or if I got fatigued out there. I had talked a lot about us kicking cancer's butt out there, it was looking a little like that river might be whooping mine very shortly!
Standing around eating bagels, peanut butter, and all the usual pre event fare, most of us were bundling up against the wind chill, rather than stripping down in preparation for a swim.
The kayakers were to head out from Sleepy hollow for Nyack at 8:30 to meet the swimmers, who would ride over in school buses. I did not envy the kayakers. Looked like they would be fighting the chop the entire way, and if not equipped with a spray skirt, the boat would be virtually swamped and kayaker soaked in short order.
As we passed the time nervously eating and taking some pre swim photos, LLS Executive Director and Swim for Life founder, Dennis Chillemi, took the mike. What he had to say moved at least a few people to momentary tears of disappointment. He announced that the coast guard had just called him. The conditions on the river were 'unsustainable' in their words, and we would not be able to do the 3 mile crossing we had trained so long and hard for, but we could do the 1 mile swim along the shore at 10:30. Ok, so be it, we'll get that big one next year, and in the mean time we'd swim our best darned 1 mile ever!
Dennis also shared the following interesting statistics with us, to remind us the real reason we do these crazy events:
Since the year 2000, fifty new drugs were approved by the FDA. Of those fifty, 21 of these were for a blood cancer. And of these 21 new blood cancer drugs, 19 were developed via LLS funding. We really have been making a difference; all the donations, the fundraising, everything may haved seemed only a drop in the bucket, but together those drops had added up to a mighty river!
More good news: Group W and my Team In Training team had raised $45,940 for LLS by our swim! (Overall, the Swim for Life brought in contributions totalling over $150,000 for LLS, and that figure is still rising!)
Scorecard, September 15, 2012 :
Group W and Company-45,940, Cancer-0
We had kicked butt!! (And, furthermore, we will be back to do it again next year!)
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