Tue Jul, 2012 by Erin K. O'Neill
Six Ann Arbor women are going to London during the 2012 Olympics, but they won’t be there for the games. They’re going to swim the English Channel, attempt to set a new world record, and raise a ton of money and awareness for a terrible disease.
The world record for a two-way crossing of the English Channel stands at 18 hours and 59 minutes. The round-trip crossing is 36.4 nautical miles, or about 44 land miles, from Dover, England to Cap Gris Nez, France. The swimmers face water temperatures between 54° and 64.5°, unpredictable weather conditions, aggressive tides, sea sickness, sea swells, jellyfish, and the general hazards of swimming in one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world. The relay team has been training for two years for this.
The most impressive thing about the endeavor is that they’re not doing any of this for personal glory: the ladies are raising money for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s Disease) research, as well as to raise awareness of the disease. ALS is a progressive neurological disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord; people with ALS eventually become paralyzed while their minds remain unaffected. There is no clinically effective treatment or cure for ALS, and 90 to 95 percent of cases strike at random and are not inherited genetically. They’ve raised $40,329, and still hope to top $120,000 before their swim later this month.
Even more incredible? Team captain Amanda Mercer was diagnosed with breast cancer during training. On March 27 she underwent surgery to remove the cancer, and she continued training for the English Channel swim throughout her chemotherapy treatment.
These women are superwomen.
Ann Arbor Active Against ALS (A2A3) is hosting a farewell party and send-off event, Bon Voyage, ALS, for the team on July 12 at Cobblestone Farm in Ann Arbor. Proceeds from the event will go towards the team’s fundraising goal. Tickets are available at online.
You can learn more about these amazing women, their quest to set a new world record for the two-way relay English Channel swim, and their mission to find a cure for ALS at their website, channelforals.org. You can also follow them on Twitter, @ChanelForALS.
Ingenex Digital Marketing is proud to sponsor A2A3 and the Channel for ALS event.