July 29, 2014 at 11:00 PM
RANDOLPH, NJ- Over 70 swimmers of all ages, including a former U.S. Olympian, and dozens of supporters gathered at Stardust Pool in Morris Township on Tuesday July 22 to take part in the 4th annual Swim Across America that raised over 14,000 dollars for cancer research locally. Carol Brandmaier-Monahan has organized the event at Stardust for four years now and is proud to announce last Tuesday’s event was the most financially successful thus far.
Brandmaier-Monahan, being a former swimmer herself, has been active in the fight against cancer for years and loves the idea of raising money through a community swimming event. “Fighting cancer is important to me because too many people that I know and love have been affected by it,” said Brandmaier-Monahan, “I organize this event each year to give people a way to fight back against cancer that is both fun and meaningful and pulls the community together.”
Brandmaier-Monahan and her team raised the money through soliciting donations and the use of a tricky tray at the event on Tuesday. The biggest money raiser however were the swimmers; each swimmer had a goal of 50 dollars or more to raise for cancer research but some ended up with much larger totals. As Brandmaier-Monahan explained after a moment of silence for those who have lost the battle with cancer, Swim Across America takes the donations it receives from the events, and uses the money locally so that those who are generous enough to give really do feel the effects of the research.
Craig Beardsley was present both helping organize the event and even swimming a few laps. Beardsley was a US Olympic Swimming favorite in the 1980 games until the US boycotted Moscow’s Summer Olympics. Beardsley was the world-record holder for the 200m butterfly from 1980-1983 and also won gold at the Pan-American Games on two separate occasions. Even 30 years after Beardsley was one of the best swimmers in the world, he is still making a big splash by working for Swim Across America and supporting the fight against a devastating disease.
“The important thing for me has always been ‘what can I do as a swimmer to give back’,” said Beardsley, “We are having fun and making a difference at the same time.”
Zach Sanders, 18, of Randolph is a swim coach to many of the kids in attendance, and helped organize some of the races this year and in the past as well. Sanders, like so many others, has had a loved one taken by cancer related illnesses and chooses to fight back against the disease. “Everyone here has a cause that they’re swimming for and it’s something everyone can relate to,” said Sanders.
While many businesses donated services, money, gift cards, products etc. a few in particular made ultimate contributions to the event. John Herold Jewelers of Randolph donated several beautiful bracelets for the tricky tray. The Westin Governor Morris, the East Hanover Marriott, Dolce in Basking Ridge and the Chauncey in Princeton all donated overnight stays and generous getaway packages for the tricky tray as well which several lucky winners brought home.
The food donations were courtesy of Burrini's Olde World Market, Rosies’ Trattoria, Pizza Palace, Panera, The Monahan Family, Dolly Alley, Laara Ayre, Deb Krog, Gwen Rosenblatt, Maria Sylvester, Lisa Cantaluppi, and Ginger Vukas.
The event was a great way for the community, especially kids, to come together and learn the importance of donating to such a worthy cause.
“It’s all about the kids and teaching them to be engaged in their community,” said Beardsley. “Everyone knows someone affected by cancer and it’s really scary.”
Swim Across America is still accepting donations for this event all the way up until next year’s event, so in order to give, you can go to http://www.swimacrossamerica.org/site/TR/PoolSwim/NationalPool?fr_id=3130&pg=entry