Swim Across America raises $300,000 to fight cancer

An aerial view of the annual Greenwich-Stamford Swim Across America event in Long Island Sound.

An aerial view of the annual Greenwich-Stamford Swim Across America event in Long Island Sound.

More than 300 volunteers from across Connecticut and beyond came together June 21 at the eighth-annual Greenwich-Stamford Swim Across America event, raising over $300,000 to benefit Stamford’s Alliance for Cancer Gene Therapy (ACGT) in the fight against cancer.

Participants spent the morning swimming half-mile, 1.5-mile or three-mile courses in the Long Island Sound, supported by a team of boaters, kayakers and land volunteers. The event was held at ACGT headquarters at 96 Cummings Point Road, Stamford. ACGT is the nation’s only non-profit dedicated exclusively to cancer gene therapy, and funds life-saving research and clinical trials heralded by The New York Times. All money raised through Swim Across America events stays local — on Saturday, 85 cents of each dollar raised was donated directly to ACGT.A dedicated cast of volunteers served as the engine behind Saturday’s success. Among the volunteers was Nicole Graham, a Greenwich High School senior, ACGT intern and cancer survivor. Nicole was joined by fellow intern and senior Alex Lewis, the captain of the Greenwich High School Swim Team.

“Each year, our dedicated swimmers, volunteers and donors give the Greenwich-Stamford swim more and more momentum,” said Janel Jorgensen McArdle, president of Swim Across America, an Olympic medalist and a Connecticut native. “This event has also become a place for residents to celebrate loved ones who lost their lives in the fight against cancer.”

Following the swim, Jorgensen McArdle and other officials lauded volunteers for their contributions. The top fundraising team, “Team College,” raised over $55,000 in honor of Colin Campbell, an attendant at last year’s event who recently lost his life to cancer. The top fundraiser was Peter Carlson, a Riverside resident and long-time participant who raised over $20,000 this year.

“Swim Across America — and the efforts to find a cancer cure in general — relies so much on individual philanthropy,” said Matt Vossler, the Darien resident who founded SAA in 1987 with friend Jeff Keith. Vossler plays a pivotal role in each year’s Greenwich-Stamford event. “In Connecticut, we have an amazing group of donors who come back year after year.”

The Greenwich-Stamford Swim Across America thanks the national and local sponsors who made this event a success, including Balance Bar, Chobani, Xterra, Richards of Greenwich, Classic Kids, LeTarte, Whole Foods, Donut Delight, Westy Self Storage, Poland Spring and Upper Crust Bagels.

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