It’s not just a swim. It’s not just a fundraising event. It’s a window into people’s lives. People who are young and not-so-young brave and fighting hard against cancer, inspiring even more people – people who are swimming, people who are giving: their time, talents and resources; people who are doing research in a lab and in a hospital; people who are watching and waiting, people who are hopeful. 

The fourth annual Swim Across America - Baltimore pool and open water events raised more than $425,000, all going to support cancer research in the Swim Across America laboratory at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center. Despite the impending rain and eventual downpour during the pool program at Meadowbrook Aquatic Center, spirits were high and celebrating extraordinary people doing extraordinary things. Like Karen Kruger. Karen marked the one year anniversary of having a bone marrow transplant by swimming a mile in an Olympic-size pool side-by-side with Lucas Townsend. Lucas, a competitive swimmer, flew in from Michigan to swim at Karen’s side for her first mile swim. Swim Across America has many “swim angels,” seasoned swimmers who pair up with newbies. But, Lucas has an even deeper connection with Karen. He was her bone marrow donor. Because of Josh’s selfless act, Karen was given a chance to live a life free of cancer. Extraordinary people doing extraordinary things.

The open water event, held the next day at the beautiful High Tide Farm on the Magothy River in Pasadena, Md., brought together Olympic swimmers and 300 others  to complete a one and three mile course. The day was crisp and beautiful and the sun shone brightly as Baltimore Opera singer Jarrod Lee sang the National Anthem. At the end of the day, donations to the swim as well as jelly fish stings were tallied. But most memorable were the inspiring words of a pancreas cancer survivor who spoke to the crowd about her remarkable cancer journey including participating in a clinical trial developed by Hopkins’ physician-scientist and made possible with Swim Across America funding. Extraordinary people doing extraordinary things.

Read more about Karen and Josh’s amazing story.

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