Current Lynbrook High School students Kyle Bergin and Siobhan Stapleton participated in Swim Across America for the first time at the Nassau County Aquatic Center in 2008, when Stapleton’s grandfather was suffering from cancer. Shortly after, he died from the disease.
On Aug. 6, Bergin and Stapleton were the coordinators of the eighth annual Swim Across America event at the Lynbrook Pool.
“We swim to honor those who have passed and to raise funds to find a cure so no one else has to suffer,” Bergin said.
The event started in Lynbrook the year after Bergin and Stapleton participated in the Nassau County Swim Across America. Their mothers, Julie Bergin and Kelly Stapleton, helped bring the event to Lynbrook, according to Bergin, who is now a senior at Lynbrook High School.
Swim Across America is a non-profit organization that raises money for cancer research and treatment as well as raises awareness about cancer prevention. It does this by hosting open water and pool benefit swim events across the United States. The funds benefit local cancer research clinics, according to Bergin. “These researchers and teams have made a huge impact right here on Long Island and in the greater New York area,” Bergin said, “… and their research is helping cancer patients worldwide.”
To raise funds, each of the almost 60 swimmers had to register online and pledge to swim a certain distance. The swimmers then sent out links to their fundraising page, asking people to sponsor them at the event. Some swimmers also held fundraisers such as bake sales, lemonade stands and even a frozen yogurt night, in which 16 Handles donated a percentage of their sales for one night to the cause.
This year’s event raised more than $10,000 in Lynbrook. It also featured special guests including Lynbrook Superintendent of Schools Dr. Melissa Burak and Glor na nGael Pipes and Drums.