WESTFIELD – Members of the Westfield Marlins swim team recently put their skills to the test to raise money for the Fazio family, whose daughter Linda is recovering from an early summer accident at Westfield Memorial Pool. More than 50 swimmers collected more than $6,000 in pledges for their efforts in a July 18 swim-a-thon dubbed "Laps for Linda."
Afternoon thunderstorms delayed the start of the event, but skies cleared before 6 p.m. to allow for two hours of swimming that took over the lap pool. As parent volunteers kept track of as many as four swimmers in a given lane, the Marlins collectively swam more than 3,400 laps, with several team members touching the wall as facility managers announced that the pool was closing for the night.
Swimmers who reached the 100 lap mark included Audrey Luka, Brooke McAndrews, Erin McAndrews, Katherine Ritter, Ellie Moose, Charlie Jeckell, Vivian Jeckell, JD Twilley, Roan Baker, Clare Logan, Sophie Waibel, Will Murtishaw and Katie Twilley. Baker also raised over $1,200 to be the top fundraiser of the event.
“What happened to Linda hit very close to home for so many families because Memorial Pool is huge part of their summer life,” said parent Jennifer Lane, who helped organize the fundraiser. “It seemed like a natural idea for the Marlins to do what they do best to help one of our neighbors in their time of need.”
A 6-year-old student at Tamaques School, Linda Fazio was found unresponsive in the pool on June 25, resuscitated and transported to Overlook Hospital. She was transferred to Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia for rehabilitation and recently returned home, according to an update on a GoFundMe site set up to assist the Fazio family with expenses related to Linda’s care.
Swimmers and volunteers enjoyed pizza donated by Gennaro’s Pizza and cupcakes donated by Bovella’s bakery. In addition to the donations raised by the swimmers, the Fazio family will also receive a gift card donated by Vicki’s Diner.
“The Marlins have a tremendous bond with Westfield,” one volunteer added. “We’re very proud of our swimmers and we would like to thank everyone who participated and supported their efforts. This is just one example of what makes Westfield a great town to live in.”