For the second year in a row, the Shark Tank Racing Squad, which includes 18 Burke and West Springfield swimmers, completed a swim marathon to support a coaches' participation in the Washington D.C. Avon Walk for Breast Cancer.
In all, 46 swimmers swam 220,000 meters and raised $12,000. These swimmers are the fourth largest fundraisers out of the thousands of participants in the D.C. walk.
A year ago we made a commitment to dedicate ourselves to giving back and making a difference. Two of our members from Burke have grandmothers with breast cancer. One is in remission, and the other is about to have surgery. Each swimmer on this team is learning the scary statistics about this disease. They are reminded that someone is diagnosed with breast cancer every three minutes.
As they began the swim marathon, the participants were reminded that while they were in the pool, TEN women would die from breast cancer.
Most of our swimmers have resources and access to health care. The gift is to not only provide financial support toward research, but to provide mammograms and care for people with breast cancer that do not have these same resources.
I also challenged the senior swimmers to set a personal goal before the end of the school year. The challenge was to research inflammatory breast cancer. It is an aggressive killer, and it stole my best friend's mother. I want them to learn about it and teach their friends what to look for. How wonderful it would be if that willingness to become aware and raise awareness saves just one life.
At the Shark Tank Racing Squad, we challenge our swimmers to see the bigger picture, to use their gift to help others, and to rise above what is expected. They are encouraged to always take the opportunity to lead, and resist the urge to fit in.
As coaching staff, we try to set an example of giving back. We give our swimmers chances to contribute to their community with team-supported charitable work. We believe it is our responsibility to guide our athletes in their pursuit of excellence. We desire to be a part of building elite people who are strong in body, heart and mind, and generous in spirit. We strive to give them opportunities to see and feel the joy of a benevolent nature.
Contributed to Burke Patch by Patty Friedman, coach and co-founder, Shark Tank Racing Squad.