Swim Across America Inaugural Swim and VIP Reception
at Cherry Hills Country Club benefiting Childrens Hospital Colorado at 5:00 reception
What a miracle it is that we are now thinking about the side effects for pediatric cancer patients when they are 60 or 70 years old. Children’s Hospital Colorado is at the forefront of groundbreaking research, treatments and successes, bringing hope and happiness to young people with cancer and their families.
Enter Swim Across America, whose mission is to unite the swimming community by hosting benefit swims that raise money to fund life-saving cancer research and clinical trials.
15 Olympians and other supporters visited Denver this weekend to participate in the inaugural Denver swim event at Chatfield Reservoir and to visit cancer patients at Children’s Hospital Colorado Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders. A reception was held at Cherry Hill’s Country Club the evening before the swim to welcome everyone.
The swim event included half-mile, one-mile, and 5K swims, along with a Balloon Splash for less experienced swimmers who wanted to jump in on the fundraising. Participants swam individually or as part of a team to honor friends or family touched by cancer.
Camaraderie and good cheer was in the air at the reception, where Olympians and Swim Across America staff and supporters discovered that the same resilience and competitive spirit that Olympians have is just what brings cancer patients through their ordeal.
2012 and 2016 Olympic champion Missy Franklin helped to interview her “new best friend” Teagan Gorney and Lauren Alfino (CHC cancer survivors/ambassadors), along with Dr. Amanda Winters and Dr. Kelly Maloney. Emcee Matt Renoux of 9News put on his wet suit to celebrate the occasion. Swim Across America President and CEO Rob Butcher, Dr. Lia Gore and Denver event director Nicole Vanderpoel also thanked supporters.
The “Make Waves To Fight Cancer” is definitely making a difference–not only today, but it seems in decades to come.
SAA Denver event coordinator Nicole Vanderpoel, center, with her daughters Maddie and Vee
Elizabeth Nowak (board member), left, with Ann Mann
Mike Mintenko (Olympian, 2000, 2004), Lindsay Mintenko (Olympian, 2000, 2004) and Andrew Gemmell (Olympian, 2012)
Klete Keller (Olympian, 2000, 2004, 2008), left, Michael Mann (board member) and Steve Kahl (board member)
Heather Petri (Olympian, 2000, 2004, 2008, 2012), left, with Jessica Vitcenda (board member)
Doug Gjertsen (Olympian, 1988, 1992), left, and Bill Vanderpoel (board member)
SAA President and CEO Rob Butcher, left, Dr. Joseph Conrad, Ashley Whitney (Olympian, 1996) and Elizabeth Beisel (Olympian, 2008, 2012, 2016)
Keith and Clare Dawson, left, and James Paz
Brandon Kahl, left, Jack Kahl, Raina Maslowski and Jen Burge
Richard Levine, left, Susan Helmrich (SAA San Francisco director), Ryan Baucom and Jenna Stevenson
Hayes Johnson, left, Missy Franklin (Olympian, 2012, 2016), CHC Ambassador Teagan Gorney and Evan Gorney
Susan von der Lippe (Olympian, 1980, 1984, 1988), left, and Ann Macartney
Craig Hagler, left, and Lance Wright
Matt Renoux of 9News with his wife Kelley and daughter Sonnett
Heather Hagedorn, left, Brian and Nancy Wixted (board)
Cress Coffman, left, John Coffman and Jessica Vitcenda
Wendy Bank, left, and Dr. Taru Hays
Ann and Jerry Healey
Ted Eynon, left, and SAA co-founder Matt Vossler
Greg Scott, (board), left, Klete Keller (Olympian, 2000, 2004, 2008) and Holden Bank
Layne Bro, left, and Brickelle Bro (Olympian, 2012, 2016)
Elizabeth Beisel (Olympian, 2008, 2012, 2016), left, Kara Lynn Joyce (Olympian, 2004, 2008, 2012), DA Franklin and Hannah Hesse
Gisella Cianci, left, and Jenny Hanley
Lainie and Chris O’Sullivan
Jessica and Eric Vitcenda, left, Amy DiCarlo, Lindsey Latham and Jarred Vitcenda
Mary Ann and Larry Harper, left, Teagen Gorney (CHC Ambassador) and Bill Vanderpoel (board)
Amy and George DiCarlo (Olympian, 1984)
Kelly Seavall, left, John Sheridan, Mary Baur
Bob and Sky Yost
Tripp and Ann Kerr, left, and Jennifer and Thad Wharton
Roster of Olympians
Kelly Seavall, left, and Nicole Vanderpoel
Emcee Matt Renoux, 9News
Matt Renoux makes a point
SAA Co-Founder Matt Vossler
SAA President and CEO Rob Butcher
Rob Butcher talks about the mission of SAA. “Every year around Christmas, our budget goes down to zero, because we give all of it to charity,” he said. They have given over $5 million in grant checks.
Denver Event Director Nicole Vanderpoel thanks guests
Nicole Vanderpoel smiles as she thanks supporters
Megan Miegard of SAA
Dr. Lia Gore says it’s very hard not to get emotional when talking about helping pediatric patients at CHC, and the help that SAA provides.
Dr. Lia Gore is very passionate about her program at CHC
Nicole Vanderpoel and Matt Renoux
Matt Renoux, Missy Franklin and Teagen Gorney
Matt, Nicole, Missy and Teagen
Missy Franklin laughs as Matt Renoux hams it up
SAA staff, Olympians and CHC doctors stand for questions from the audience