“A Little About Me”

I am a 50-something mother of three grown boys with a cottage on the Severn River at Russian Bay, and I have been swimming since I was four years old. At that age I completed my first endurance swim by swimming six times between two docks without touching. My dad had left the cottage to return to work, leaving me with the challenge. When he returned, he brought aGrandfather Frog book back with him as my reward for completing the swim.

My introduction to serious distance swimming began when a friend of mine, Joy Greene, invited me to swim Lake Rosseau with her in 1998, her fourth crossing of the 10-12 mile lake. Joy didn’t expect me to complete the swim, but I was determined, finishing in eight hours and 20 minutes.

The next year’s swim was miserable, with 2 ½ to 3-foot waves for nine to 10 of the miles. Joy and I completed the swim in nine hours and 13 minutes. The third year, I swam by myself as Joy broke her leg skiing in March, and I made my fastest crossing, completing it in seven hours 26 minutes. Joy now lives in Novar and completes a swim in Huntsville each year.

I initiated Swim For The Cure in 2001. That year it was going to be a 16-mile/25.8-km swim of the Severn, and I completed about 14 miles of it. The swim was scaled back to eight miles for its second year in 2002, and I completed that along with the first annual Kids’ Swim for the Cure the next day.  For the 10th Anniversary swim, several swimmers completed the original 16-mile/25.8-km swim with me, leaving Swift Rapids at 0430 hours and other swimmers completed the usual 8-mile/12.8-km swim.  It was a very busy swim and we could not have done it without the wonderful volunteers helping us out that day.

My first encounter with breast cancer came when I was quite young: I helped my Nana (maternal link) discover her breast cancer when I was racing her in the yard. My aunt (paternal link) discovered her breast cancer seven years ago. I had my first cystic lump at the age of 17 years and first mammogram in my early 20s. Some of my professional life has been dedicated to breast cancer research and I have had the honour of hearing many stories from women who are living with breast cancer.

Please visit my personal tribute page, hosted by the Canadian Cancer Society, where you can sponsor me online. Receipts are sent automatically be email once an online donation has been made.

Each year of the swim more people have joined in the fun, both as swimmers and as crew. Each swimmer receives a “bright” bathing cap to help make them more visible in the water and celebration refreshments at the end of the day. Come swim with us!

…and some
of my friends

Swimming alongside in the first Swim For The Cure were:

Liz Yetisir, a biostatistician and mother of two who lives in Deep River. Liz hosted the first Swim for the Cure on the Ottawa River in 2003.

Joanne VanderVies, who lived in Oakville.

Jennie Popplow, who also has a cottage on the Severn River in Hungarian Bay.

These women were joined by many others in the subsequent Swims For The Cure, most of the swimmers are happy to talk about the swim. Contact information is available from Debbie Bang if desired.